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Memory in Our Bones

Exploring the Mysteries of Mind, Body and Spirit

by H. Elizabeth Burke

Past life phenomena are extremely relevant, and...our knowledge of them can help us resolve con?icts and live better lives in the present. -Stanislav Grof

What I have experienced myself, and observed in clients since 1984 is that traumatic experience, powerful emotions, af?nities, behaviors, and beliefs, continue beyond physical death. These experiences remain unconscious and lie dormant within our minds and are preserved within our bodies, and can resurface when triggered by people, places, objects and emotions that are similar to those we have felt in the past. Memories survive until they are resolved and can have a profound effect on our minds, bodies, and emotions.

Lynn’s Story

In 1991 I witnessed for the ?rst time in someone other than myself the extraordinary grip past life memory has upon our physical body. Lynn, a massage therapist in her late 30s, came to see me because she had been experiencing an irregular heartbeat for about a year. She had investigated her heart’s unusual beat while studying massage, but she always fell short of understanding why her heart plagued her so. Then, one day the symptoms intensi?ed, and she was rushed to the hospital as her heart raced out of control. After exhaustive testing, Lynn was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that she had had since birth. Now, years later, in a class I was teaching, Lynn would discover the cause of her heart’s irregular and rapid beat.

As I lead her class in a simple visualization into their hearts, Lynn swept beyond the heart of her 30s, 20s, and childhood. Almost instantly, she felt cold stone under her back and saw a canopy of rain forest overhead. In that moment, images, memories and emotions poured into her consciousness, as she remembered and relived the original wound to her heart that corresponded to her present-day symptoms. This new knowledge helped her begin to release the trauma held deep in her heart. She sat in awe as understanding dawned of how she had been impacted and affected by these ancient memories that were held in her heart from another time and place. Miraculously she said that within a period of six months she was symptom free. I realized then that others could experience what I had and heal their most perplexing and traumatic physical problems by exploring the origins of their symptoms. My life took a dramatic turn as I realized the possible applications of what I had now seen in another person. This book and the years of research it represents are a culmination of that wintry night ?fteen years ago.

Since that time I have witnessed clients’ remarkable recoveries as they have released memories from their childhood, from pre-natal experiences and from past lives. In this book you will meet Sara, who faced and released memories of fear and trauma, enabling her to live happily with a man she loved, and Alia, who found the reason for her chronic stomach and digestive ailments in another life where she had died of cancer. You will hear the stories of people who have faced physical, emotional and relationship problems and by understanding and unraveling the imprinted memories and emotions held within their cells and body they have found peace. I will share their stories and give you the tools to journey within to ?nd healing and release for yourself.

The exploration of past lives in therapy is not new nor is the idea that people can heal their present symptoms by reviewing their past lives. Transpersonal psychologist and researcher Dr. Stanislav Grof notes, “In the process of experiencing episodes from past lives, people often heal emotional and physical symptoms that they suffer from in their present lives.”2

What I bring to this area of therapy and research that is new is that these memories are embodied. They are alive within us. Memory is etched into our very cells, bones, muscles, organs, and strands of DNA. Our body and consciousness hold these imprinted memories in place until we are emotionally and mentally ready to review and release them. By tracing these imprints back to their origins, our problems and symptoms can be changed at a core level. Transformation, healing and puri?cation of these embodied and systemic memories is what Transforming Embodiment ® offers us. It is a core healing of body, beliefs, and emotions. Clients, when engaging in the practices of Transforming Embodiment, have repeatedly reported that they feel this healing and transformation within their very cells.

I am aware that psychology offers many other possible explanations for what I have seen and what I will be sharing with you. Traditional clinical psychology maintains that past life and transpersonal experiences can be best understood as fantasies, delusions, dreams, archetypal patterns or even as dissociative identity disorders. This is the more traditional view, but Stanislav Grof, one of the leading ?gures in transpersonal psychology and an expert in the ?eld, says the following,

Whether or not experiences of this kind [childhood, birth and incarnational memories] re?ect ‘objective reality,’ their therapeutic value is unquestionable. A therapist who is unwilling to support them because of intellectual skepticism is giving up a therapeutic tool of extraordinary power.3

Like Grof, I believe that if we are experiencing “memories” from infancy, from before birth, or from another lifetimes, then, they are important and we must honor them. I have found that it is almost irrelevant to think of these experiences as fact or ?ction; if they are present, they are real to us.

Personally, I believe that consciousness survives and that we have lived before, because I have experienced other life memories personally and witnessed them clinically. It is not my intention, however, to convince anyone that rebirth, reincarnation or the survival of consciousness do, in fact, take place. Experience alone can bring us to these transpersonal understandings.

My sole wish is to pose these questions: what if past lives do exist, and how might this information and understanding change our current views of healing? How would our perceptions of illness and disease change if the roots of our suffering were not merely perceived as physical or emotional? What emotional and spiritual lessons or gifts could some once-dreaded experience hold for us? And ?nally, how can these experiences help us to understand our lives and ourselves in the present?

In this book I will try to answer these kinds of questions and share a new way of perceiving memory and mind-body healing. I will show you how memory is embodied and I will present scienti?c and spiritual evidence that supports this idea. I will also introduce you to the process of Transforming Embodiment ® or TE ®, a set of practices that I developed in the early 1990s, that arose out of my classes to become the core of the therapy I now do with people.

The practices themselves are simple and direct and are a combination of questions, meditations, deep inquiry, and puri?cation practices. Transforming Embodiment is an interactive mind-body integrative therapy that uses inner imagery, intuition, shamanic principles, energy and psychic techniques, and chakra psychology to discover the origins or causes of physical symptoms, recurring patterns, and painful emotional states.

When applied, this therapy can help untangle challenges in relationships, deep emotions, painful memories, fears and physical and psychosomatic symptoms. Basically, when taken to its barest bones, Transforming Embodiment works to transform and resolve our fears, limiting beliefs, and pain. By working in this way with our fears, anxieties and painful emotional and physical symptoms, this therapy can open up new pathways to deep and lasting healing.

In Transforming Embodiment, working with embodied or systemic memory is seen as a very direct way for us to remember, release, and reorganize our responses to current life triggers. By discovering and re-experiencing our past and past life events, we can ?nally connect the dots and see what causes have created our current confusions and problems. Causal relationships, when brought into the light, give us a unique opportunity to resolve and ultimately heal our most perplexing present-day problems. As a result of integrating these experiences, deep release and healing can occur for each of us.

These practices enable you to discover the cause-effect relationships that exist between your past and present that are operating in your life now. Through intuitive insights and by working directly with your body and consciousness, you can understand these casual relationships and ?nally lay them to rest. This book, its exercises and meditations, can help you see these interconnections between your past and present and teach you how to resolve, re-integrate, and release the shock, traumatic experiences, and emotional wounds you have carried with you.

These meditations will help you observe your mind and evoked events, and teach you how to be detached from situations while simultaneously experiencing them. The ability to observe enables you to view and remember even the most traumatic events from your past without further harm to your being. Observant engagement enables you to both process your experiences and make change to them.

My hope is to awaken and reconnect you to your inner wisdom and self, and to guide and empower you through deep inquiry, to the origins of why you experience life as you do. Because Transforming Embodiment works with spontaneous imagery and memory that have been held within our minds and bodies there is a brilliant aliveness to these practices. Healing is a process that is vibrant with energy, imagery, sensation, and intuition. This is because spirit guides this process and connects us to our inner wisdom self. Intuition paired with discernment, is what guides us. Our inner wisdom self is accessible and ready to help us at a moment’s notice. We need only ask for this help and connect to our hearts.

The book will teach you how to begin this journey, and it will share my personal and clinical experiences, observations, anecdotal evidence, and research into how survival of consciousness can affect us all.

The following spiritual and healing traditions have helped shape the practices of Transforming Embodiment. Huna4, because of its deep relationship to belief systems and its psychological construct of the three aspects of the self, is especially important, because it demonstrates how we can relate to and work with the different aspects of the body, mind and spirit directly. Buddhist knowledge about reincarnation and rebirth are deeply signi?cant because these profound teachings give us a foundation for how consciousness may survive and examples of tulkus5 who have. With this knowledge, the idea that memories and experiences from other lives can be carried into the present, and that the residual energies from these distant karmas can impact us every day through our mindstream, is more feasible.

Taoist and Buddhist meditation practices and mindful attention can help us connect to, explore our deepest self, and lead us into states of stillness and quiescence. Meditation is a very direct way in which we can begin to understand the nature of our minds, and it gives us the resources for cultivating acceptance, compassion and equanimity, as well as curiosity and openness to our present experience.

Taoist energy practices and Western psychic techniques are also a part of Transforming Embodiment’s foundations. Our chakras also give us a time-tested ancient template for understanding ourselves. They are a rich ground for energetic and psychological inquiry, and when paired with increased intuitive sensitivity, worlds can open up from deep within these energy centers of our being. We are energy as well as ?esh and bone, and the psychological and emotional details held within our chakras and body are indispensable as we endeavor to understand ourselves and ?nd meaning for the complexity that we embody.

All of these pieces when woven together become Transforming Embodiment. Through my personal experiences and transformations and as a channel-embodying Source, I have gained a unique perspective and certain skills that I will share here, so you may learn how to heal yourself.

When I ?rst began this book in 1995, I was unaware of much of what I did with clients. The process came naturally to me and was an extension of my teaching and channeled work. Many of the ideas I describe in the following chapters though they were implied I did not recognize them until I began to explore what I naturally did with people. Through a continuing and deep exploration of this work that I’ve practiced for so many years, I have become conscious of the process itself—its nuances and complexity have been revealed to me. Years of study, meditation, reading, and life experiences, both in this timeline and in others, have contributed to the creation of this process, as have my teachers, clients and friends, whom I have learned from, taught and brainstormed with. I wish again to express my appreciation to them all. I hope this book will allow you to explore a bit further and perhaps learn something new about healing, memory, and causality.

Please remember to use what works for you. As a teacher I invite you to question deeply and to test out what I am sharing with you. Be discerning and discriminating because blind faith can be a trap. I encourage you to question, to be skeptical, and to examine your experience and what I am saying carefully. See if what I am sharing resonates and ?ts before blindly accepting it. This combination of cultivating intellectual incisiveness with intuitional insight provides a working safeguard for all of us, so use all your faculties, your intuition, and your mind.

Working with energy and your intuition is not mysterious nor is it solely the arena of psychics and intuitives. I have taught intuitive classes for ?fteen years and rarely have I found a person who cannot tune into their intuition, once they have learned how to quiet their thinking mind. Valerie Hunt, elder statesperson within energy medicine, says that wherever there are molecules there are emotions and wherever there are emotions, there is energy. The emotions within us and within others create vibrations, and we can tune into these vibrations.

We have a rich landscape of information and energy under the surface, just waiting to be tapped. Your body, mind, organs, and cells are alive with this energy and each of you can tune into it. Stillness and silence are key factors in establishing a connection to the energy that ?ows within us. Each of you has a different way of cultivating and experiencing this energy. Some of you may feel it, others may sense it, dream about it, or literally see it, but there is no doubt that when you apply light focus, with a mind that is curious and free of doubt, information and truth from deep within you will be revealed.

Our potential for healing lies within each of us, not outside but deep within us in our cells, bones, organs, and chakras. Our “past” has more of an impact upon us than we may realize. We embody our past and the totality of our experience, our emotions, and memories ?oat within our being and are available for us to explore and heal. Changing our reality is in our hands and in our hearts. With these things in mind, let us begin.

Please do the preliminary practices as outlined. Each exercise builds on the previous one and it is important to take them one at a time and to master each before moving on. This caution is based on sixteen years of clinical practice and teaching and nearly twenty years of working personally with energy, transpersonal states, and phenomena.

I also ask each of you to be gentle with yourselves, to go slowly, and listen deeply to the song of your heart and body-mind. Always connect to your higher knowledge, your wisdom self, and inner knowing. Cultivate this relationship and let your intuition as well as your intellect guide you.

This work can take you into areas that will confound and confuse you at ?rst, so it is imperative to be grounded and centered before undertaking these exercises. Deep emotions may arise but, like clouds in the sky, you must watch them as they ?oat by—do not attach to them just let them go. Do this with mindfulness and equanimity, as you probe deeper into your mind and body, and may you all ?nd healing, happiness and greater peace.

The names of all my clients, students, and the names of participants in clients’ stories have been changed in examples, case studies, and interviews to protect individual privacy.


Healing Origins: Resolving Physical Symptoms

These sensations [the felt sense or internal body sensations] serve as a portal through which we ?nd the symptoms, or re?ections of trauma. In directing our attention to these internal body sensations rather than attacking the trauma head-on we can unbind and free the energies that have been held in check. - Peter Levine

The ?rst two interludes in this book present two different ways to use Transforming Embodiment. Each focuses on resolving emotions and memories from the past and on healing origins. These cases represent snapshots and do not capture the complex interwoven structure of issues and beliefs each client explored, experienced, and reorganized. They describe only one part of the puzzle, re?ecting upon a single thread within the fabric of each person’s story. Knowing this, I hope the reader will understand that the simplicity seen in these cases is deceptive, and may not display the complexity or the interwoven nature of the process itself.

Both Lynn and Sara had mastered certain techniques, described in the preface, and each did these preliminary practices before we started our sessions.

Lynn’s experience took place during a 12 - week course that focused on the physical body. In this class, Lynn learned to merge with the different organs in her body to gain information about the memories, emotions, or experiences held within her various organ systems. She learned to connect and follow the deep imagery within her body to explore her physical symptoms and emotional dif?culties. Body sensations served as another doorway into the memories held within her cells, bones, and tissues.

In searching for the origins of current problems, Lynn experienced past life memories quite spontaneously. These memories held the key for Lynn and by transforming these memories deep healing and release took place as the original root cause of her fears, relationship issues and even her physical symptoms were understood and ?nally laid to rest.

Family History

Lynn’s father had a number of heart attacks throughout his life without knowing it. Being a Christian Scientist, he had not sought medical help until deep into his illness. By the time he saw a doctor his heart was only working at 30% of it’s full capacity. The doctors said it was too late. They were able to monitor some of his symptoms through medication, but Lynn’s father died within a year. Knowing of her father’s history Lynn was worried when her heart began to bother her, but she felt that her diet and exercise program would help her stay healthy.

However, as a massage student in 1990 Lynn suddenly began experiencing an erratic heartbeat.“ My heart would just race and scare me to death, and at other times it would just jump—like it was going to come out of my chest. It was extremely alarming.”

Lynn’s Symptoms and Medical Diagnosis

I never noticed the symptoms until I started doing massage. My symptoms became especially intense while I was studying cranial sacral work. We were learning how to initiate massage work from our hearts, and were discovering how to let our hearts and intuitions direct our hands. This technique required that our hearts be relaxed and open, so the energy from our hearts could ?ow into and out of our hands. My heart just went crazy when I tried to do this work. It ?uttered and jumped all over the place. I told my teachers about my feelings and they congratulated me. They said my heart was waking up. I had my doubts.64 I felt there was another reason beyond the holistic explanations my teachers gave me. I sensed that something else might have been causing my symptoms.

As my massage training continued, my symptoms worsened, and were so acute that I was rushed to the hospital at one point. The doctors in the ER hooked me up to an EKG and discovered that I had an irregular heartbeat. At that time, they sent me home with a mobile heart monitor to track what was happening to my heart and suggested that I see a cardiologist. After a series of tests, mitral valve prolaspe was ruled out. I went back to my doctor and was diagnosed instead with an irregular heartbeat that was caused by a thickening of the mitral valve in my heart. This defect, I was told, had been present since I was born, and according to my doctor it may have been due to a magnesium de?ciency during my mother’s pregnancy. The doctor told me that this thickening caused a slight regurgitation in my heart and this was what I felt when my heart beat irregularly. He explained that this extra beat was providing additional blood ?ow to my system. He also assured me that this condition was not life threatening and he recommended that I begin taking magnesium supplements. After my visit to the ER and a cardiologist I understood the physical nature of my symptoms, but I still felt something was missing.

I continued to work with my cranial sacral teacher to ?nd out why I was experiencing these symptoms. I learned to appreciate the rhythm and the exceptional beat of my heart, but I knew I did not have the whole story. What was the symptom trying to tell me?

During a massage my instructor was giving me, the image of a sword in a stone came into his mind. He told me he felt that the sword was my anger and that the stone would not be healed until the sword was removed. We worked together with this Arthurian imagery but I continued to have this nagging feeling that there was something more. When he had referred to the stone, something resonated deep within me, but I couldn’t tap into the meaning or the experience associated with the stone at that time.

Our First Contact

I saw Lynn a few times before she joined the second course in a year-long training I was teaching. During those sessions we did a review and I taught her the preliminary practices65

she would need and I examined her chakras. We noted which chakras might interest her during the upcoming classes. Lynn said very little about her heart symptoms and seemed more concerned about her throat chakra. I mentioned that there were issues in her heart chakra that might need to be addressed but we went no further at that time. We practiced some of the meditation and visualization techniques and met for class a few days later. Visualization practices are used to help create a space or environment that is conducive to inner exploration and healing, and so students can begin to experience their body of experience 66 and inner world.

When you and I ?rst started working together I was still quite aware of my irregular beat. I would notice it and it would always cause me a little bit of fear, even though I knew what it was physically. I knew what it was called and how to manage it but still there was this deep-seated fear that I had not been able to access. This fear became more intense when I moved to New Mexico and moved in with my boyfriend. His voice was a voice that I recognized but I couldn’t tap the memory. I knew the voice, I just didn’t know from where. It’s funny, because the ?rst time he spoke to me, I lost my balance. I was standing on solid ground and almost fell into the street. My body was remembering something but I couldn’t consciously get what it was. It wasn’t until class with you that the stone image and my feelings about my boyfriend became clear to me.

Instructions to Lynn’s Class:

Take a deep breath and let go of any unnecessary tensions from your body, take a second deep breath and on the exhale let go of any mental or emotional concerns from your day. Take a third deep breath and this time as you exhale I want you to do your grounding and protection meditations. Finally bring your attention back to your chest and take a few deep breaths and gently connect with your own inner wisdom. You may feel this energy as a warmth or see it as a radiating light, ask this aspect to be with you and guide you tonight.

Journeying Into the Heart

We are going to be working in the area of the heart tonight. I want you to begin by ‘going into’67 the area of your heart, enter into your physical heart, feel and hear your heart’s beat. If you need to, you can put your hand on your chest to help you connect with your heart. I want you to notice your heart chakra but focus on the energy of your physical heart. As you connect to your heart investigate your heart’s nature. This is a bit different than our earlier work. Now I want you to see, feel and sense the organ itself as it beats and pumps blood through your cardiovascular system. Notice if there are any areas of tension or holding. (Pause). Is there anything that draws your attention, (pause) any dark areas, (pause) spots, (pause) heat, or cold (pause)? Notice any images or memories as well, just scan your heart, and see what you ?nd. (Long Pause).

Now, I want you to investigate the thing that drew your attention the most. Follow whatever arises, and see where your experience takes you. If your mind wanders just refocus on the question, what is my heart holding, and what does it wish to share with me at this moment? Keep breathing regularly let the images and feeling just ?oat into your attention, and if things get intense, bring your attention back to your breath. Know that you can watch your experiences like a movie or participate in them. Just gather any information about your heart you can. (Long Pause). Now I want you to take

a few deep breaths and this time I want you to see your heart of ten years ago, twenty years ago and so on moving back in ten year intervals. Explore what your heart was experiencing and feeling at different times in your life. Ask and receive any messages and see if there are any old patterns of holding, old beliefs or emotions that need to be understood or released. Ask your inner self and heart if any healing needs to occur. Just listen to your heart and communicate with your heart.

Lynn Shares Her Experience

The night of the class I remember noticing my heart jumping and beating wildly as I walked up your steps and into your house. It went ba boom ba boom ba boom very loudly. I thought, what is this? As I asked that question, I sensed I was going to be touching the illusive fear I had been feeling for years and learn more about it. As I sat down I felt a deep calm radiating from you. I experienced again your comfort and ease with deep emotions and fearful experiences that I had felt during our review and this made me feel safe and I was able to relax a bit.

As you led the exercise that night I swept through the ages of my heart very quickly and almost immediately felt the cold of a stone under my back. It was the most eerie feeling; I felt myself literally lying on a stone slab, but I knew with one part of my mind that I was sitting on your couch. The sensation of the stone, though, was overwhelming. I felt the coldness of it on my back and I was no longer in class.

I looked up and saw a canopy of trees above me. I knew I was in the rainforest somewhere in South America. Simultaneously, voices outside of me, from what seemed like the ethereal plane, told me I was a gift to the gods and that this was a great honor. I realized that I was nearly thirteen years old and very close to beginning menses. All of this happened in a ?ash. Knowing was instantaneous. I felt the cold of the stone underneath my body again and I knew I was awaiting sacri?ce. I realized this ritual had to be performed before I started menstruating. Suddenly I knew I would never grow up, have a lover or a family. I felt I was being cut off at the brink of really understanding things. I felt I was being completely silenced and anger ?ared in me. I did not feel any of this was an honor. All around me I saw the faces of my people, people I had known all my life and I was very afraid.

I was experiencing this lifetime so clearly that I opened my eyes to reassure myself that I really wasn’t there, but I couldn’t see your living room, the other students or you. All I could see was the faces of my people standing around my body in a circle. Your tranquility was still a tactile experience for me, though. If it weren’t for your calming presence, openness and acceptance, I don’t think I could have gone through what happened next.

Suddenly I felt a knife being plunged into my chest with great force. It tore through me. It was so extreme, even now, I can feel the knife being driven into my chest through my sternum. Next my ribs were separated and my chest opened. My heart lay exposed to the heavens. The physical sensations at this point were very dif?cult. It felt like a heart attack and even now when I hear people talk about open-heart surgery or see it on TV I know and completely understand each sensation.

During this I kept thinking this couldn’t be happening. I remember seeing a silver bracelet on the man’s arm who was holding the knife and as I looked into his face I knew that vacant expression. It was the same look that my boyfriend gets.

I had such a strong feeling that I would be saved, that somehow this man couldn’t possibly do this. It was all kind of unreal, not the feelings, or the memory—they were very real—but I kept thinking that someone was going to stop this. As it was happening I thought, they’re not going to do this—not to me. This won’t happen to me. I’m too special (she laughs). They’ve told me since birth I am special, they won’t—they can’t—let this happen. Something’s going to change, something or someone is going to intervene—even if it isn’t him. I really thought divine grace or something would stop this but that didn’t happen, not at all.

I was afraid to admit at the time that the man holding the knife and offering my heart to the gods was somehow my current boyfriend. It was hard to comprehend that they were one and the same but I felt sure this was true. Dan wears the same type of wide bracelet and the expression was all too familiar. Dan has this knack of no expression. It’s a very peaceful kind of blankness and that’s what I saw. That’s how I knew it was him. I despised that face—there’s just nothing there, no awareness, and no recognition, just blankness.

At the time I thought, oh no! No, (she groans) don’t let it be him (she laughs now), not the man I adore, not the man I live with. But it was de?nitely him. There was that look on his face, as he cut my heart out of my chest and raised it over his head. He murmured a blessing or some kind of chant and bit into my heart. All was lost as he passed my heart around to the tribe.

Since I was a child I’ve always asked the question, why do I hold myself back? I know the answer to this question now, because a voice inside me said, ‘Why, shoot! They might rip your heart out for it.’ At that moment, I understood why I was afraid to connect, touch, write, and speak my truth.

It was only when I lifted out of my body that the experience stopped being physical. I started hearing the voices again telling me stories and my chest stopped hurting. I was ?ne then. I remember I kept rising higher and higher until I saw an aerial view of the rain forest and I thought, “this is the grace” as I spiraled up and out of the forest.

I used to get goose bumps as I remembered this, which is funny because for months I felt quite a chill when I remembered the cold slab underneath my body. I don’t get goose bumps any more; I don’t feel the chill or the irregular heartbeat. It’s as quiet as can be now.

Changes and Healing Effects from the Experience

I immediately felt a change in my heart. I experienced the biggest exhale I have ever felt in my life. I totally relaxed. I ‘ll never forget it. It was like a wind blew through me and at that point, my heart slowed down instantly. For the ?rst time, I could feel a root grow from my heart, from the very center of my chest into the earth. I felt so connected.

The ?rst two weeks after my experience in class my symptoms became almost constant. I thought what have I done? What have I opened up? I was very afraid. Fortunately I came to class and was able to work with my feelings each week. The timing was ideal for me because of the support I got during class. I would’ve run away screaming, (she laughs) if I didn’t have your support and help. I’m sure I would have shut the experience out, would still have symptoms and I would not be with my boyfriend. (She laughs). During that ?rst month, more of my experience ?lled in. I got new pieces of information, glimpses of that lifetime, and I was able to see the connections to my present with your help. As my understanding and awareness increased my symptoms lessened.

Over the next ?ve months, my symptoms only occurred two or three times a month. I noticed my heart beating irregularly when a part of me was being asked to die in my relationship, when I was being asked to grow up and let go of my sel?shness, control or ego and also when I saw that blank expression on Dan’s face. I also recognized that when con?icts arose between Dan and me during those months that I was better able to communicate and negotiate when our desires were at odds, instead of acting like a spoiled child. As my fear subsided and I established a new way of being in my life, my heart became quieter and quieter and I remember reminding myself that I was ?ne, even the blank face didn’t bother me anymore. (She laughs.)

I think I was really tested at ?rst though. That always happens, when we decide to change, or choose a new path and grow. During that transition the new way of being is challenged. That’s how we do our reality check, by being challenged. That’s how we know something is true.

I was de?nitely tested over and over again, and every time I would think I’m all right, I’m okay now. My heart is in here (she touches her chest) it’s safe. (She laughs.) I still have it, I’m older than 14, (long pause). I made it. (She laughs again.)

It’s like I have been there and done that—I did that. (This is said with great conviction.) It’s funny, I don’t think I realized what I just said. I DIED there. I died there and I don’t feel afraid, now. My heart doesn’t jump any more—not a thing, Elizabeth, the symptoms are gone, and so is the fear.


I can “work from my heart” now. When I begin a massage I ground and open my awareness from my heart and I feel a grounding cord in my heart move down through all my chakras and into the earth. I had never been able to sense that before. I feel so much more connected, and I know that I’m here. To work from my heart, to stay in my heart, when I try something new and even when my boyfriend and I have differences, is what it’s all about for me now. I no longer feel separate, distanced or cut off from people, afraid or needing to control everything to be safe. My heart is open now and I can be me. I can do whatever on a physical level, and my heart stays quiet.

I even think I ‘d like to go to South America and travel around the country and go into the rain forest. Plus, when I think about this my heart remains calm. That is so amazing to me. I no longer have the feeling that if I went to South America I would never return. Remember when I was sharing my experience in class, and I said I guess I won’t be going there (to South America) anytime soon—that’s not a good vacation destination for me? (She laughs.) You chuckled and said not unless you want to come away screaming, and you laughed. Your laughter just melted my fear. It was a bit disarming but so perfect. It let me relax and not take myself so seriously and it also let me know that I was here in this body and in one piece. My anxiety and all the emotional charge I was feeling just vanished.


Lynn learned that her past life experience was about emotional maturity and overcoming fears and her need to control. She said that in her current relationships with men she had always been taken care of and spoiled like a child. She understood why she had been comfortable with this and yet con?icted at the same time over this kind of treatment. She said that when she was in massage school she consciously recognized her anger at this inequality for the ?rst time. Her lifetime in South America where she had been chosen, which made her feel special, and her experience of sacri?ce and of being cut off from knowledge that awaited her as she entered womanhood, were keys to understanding her anger and behaviors in relationships. She felt that this was where her original con?icts had been laid out. As these memories resurfaced the patterns in her life began to make more sense to her. As the story took shape she understood how and why she responded and reacted in this lifetime and how much this former lifetime still impacted her. She understood how being taken care of related to her being chosen and singled out for sacri?ce and how this was a double-edged sword. She liked being cared for and the security of that but did not like the limitations. She felt that her immaturity stemmed from having been killed before reaching adulthood, and she knew her anger was associated with this death and not achieving the status of womanhood.

She realized too that this other lifetime had shaped her need to control her experiences and her world in the present. She also understood how her fears were linked to this control. Her fear of expression and feeling from her heart were suppressed in this other lifetime. Her own words, “why, shoot, they might rip my heart out for it” was the key to understanding this complex belief system. While she longed to express herself she also was afraid to do so because even if she was told that her sacri?ce was an honor she never felt this to be true. Somehow she felt she was being punished, so how could she speak her truth if death loomed over her. But this she felt was the demand of spirit. She was being asked to be more authentic, and true to herself as well as more adult in her relationships. She truly understood how her fears and emotions had limited her work as a massage therapist, and how they had affected her relationships. As we worked together over the months Lynn accepted her death and knew with every ?ber of her being that life was eternal. She was certain that her consciousness or spirit had moved on and her fear of dying, that she felt we all have, had shifted. She remembered how much of a relief it was to ?nally move into the ethereal realm after reliving her ritual sacri?ce and she was no longer afraid of death.

Lynn’s case reveals how complex and interwoven our lifetimes can be and how one can shape the other. The moment of death, especially when that death is traumatic, carries our emotions and beliefs from that moment forward. This created a set of problems for Lynn that included physical symptoms, problems within relationships, and a variety of emotional issues and fears, many of which remained unconscious until that night in class.

What I ?nd most interesting and what struck me at the time was that another person other than myself could effectively change her physical symptoms by remembering an ancient past where she had been mortally wounded in the very organ that presented symptoms in this lifetime. Her experience was visual, auditory and deeply.

Copyright © 2008 by H. Elizabeth Burke

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying. Recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

First edition

EarthSong Foundation Press

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Control Number: 2008903926

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