While I was growing up in Papua New Guinea, (the country where I was born and lived until I was 13 years old) my mother Dr. Carol Jenkins found herself living an anthropologist’s dream: working with an indigenous tribe that had just been discovered in the rainforest and were still living in the ¨stone age¨.
To me as a child, life with the Hagahai people was normal and at the same time absolutely magical. Miles and miles away from any civilization, they had existed for generations isolated from any outside influence, from a time before humans were plugged into modernity in any way.
My family and I had so many amazing experiences with the Hagahai, and I consider that period to be absolutely formative in the way I see and interact with people and Life in general. That part of my life also greatly influences my work as a therapist and consultant/coach.
One thing that you get immediately living with indigenous people (I am sure this is just as true in the Amazon) is that it is mortally dangerous to be inauthentic. Being ¨unreal¨ in any way puts your life at risk. Nature doesn’t care who you know. The jungle doesn’t care how much you have in your bank account or how many friends you have on facebook. The question is can you trust yourself and the people around you enough to put the next foot forward safely?
This level of intense experience in the moment can be unbelievably challenging and at the same time incredibly rewarding because it shows you your true weaknesses. It brings that ¨shadow¨ stuff right into your awareness and unlike psychotherapy, you can’t retreat into your normal life, fire your therapist and just stop coming to sessions. You either figure that stuff out right then and there, or you don’t make it home. Simple as that.
Your life suddenly becomes much more than just an idea in your head and things get real very quickly. You just can’t lie to yourself and others, because you realise doing so means death.
The benefit of this is immediate: you are out of your head and into the feeling of your body. Your senses are open, your mind is clear and quite often what seemed so important just a second ago is just another thought. You are experiencing what it is to be truly alive in the moment. Your ¨crap¨ falls away and you have an intimate connection with your environment and the people around you. The most amazing thing is that you feel an appreciation for life that you recognize clearly as Love. This is what we are all looking for, really.
Some years ago, living in a large, modern European city, stressed and overworked, I found myself disconnected from that experience I knew to be so powerful and real. I sought to find a way back to that place and I threw myself into the world of spirituality and personal development, doing everything I could to make that feeling come back.
I discovered that through doing certain practices (certain types of meditation and self-hypnosis), I could experience that ¨real me¨ and life did not seem to be so much of a burden anymore. I could focus on the things that were important to me; I could enjoy the simple things with great passion and my life improved greatly.
I began to see the benefit of sharing these with others, because I knew that they worked immensely in helping others find that within themselves. This is something I still feel immensely called to do.
But more than sharing ways of ¨getting there¨(so many techniques exist), I feel called to point out the simple fact that the possibility of experiencing something different exists. You CAN experience your life beyond the negative (and indeed positive) thinking in your head. You CAN feel totally connected to all of your life because you are more than just the content of your experience. You are more than all the stories and thoughts about whatever it is you are experiencing in the moment. Your ability to realise that is totally possible. You can STOP and realise this even right this moment.
These days, people do all kinds of things to find that experience. Living in the modern world, it seems like this is getting harder and harder to do. So many psychotherapies focus on dealing with the past and issues in our lives seem so hard to see for what they are, unconscious patterns manifesting as thought in the present. The same present where all our possibility exists: our ability to work, experience, to feel and love deeply
My only goal, when using hypnosis or any other technique, is that you begin to realise that the only reason you may not experience this natural, ¨real¨ state of being is because YOU are an amazing hypnotist. You are so good, most of the time you don’t realise you are keeping yourself from it. Sometime it takes a guide to realise this.
You are powerful beyond measure, no doubt. So powerful, you can create and experience lack, depression and anger (as well as beauty, connection and love) with a simple thought. Sometimes we can create so much noise in our heads that we don’t realise that we are walking off a cliff or missing the most incredible moment of our lives: the one we are living right NOW.
Here is a rare National Geographic Documentary about my mother´s work with the Hagahai people(it´s a little ¨choppy¨in the beginning because it was copied from VHS, but that clears up a couple of minutes into the vid):