• Dr. Jill Bakke


March 13th we moved our clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time and the spring Solstice fell on March 20th, signaling the formal beginning of what we consider a growth season. Then Easter arrived March 27th. Traditionally all these dates signal a new beginning, with Easter having a specific religious implication associated with the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus. However, I invite everyone to consider spring in a slightly different way; think of it as period to begin a resurrection of your own passions for life, a time to invite home the parts of you which have been lost.

As Walt Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large -- I contain multitudes.” We all contain multitudes. And sometimes our vital parts go missing. We feel lethargic, depressed. We may have an eating disorder or low self-esteem. There are literally 21 physical symptoms that signal a vital essence is missing. These includes avoiding vulnerability, inability to recall memories, insomnia, feeling unworthy of love, and addictions not only of drugs and alcohol, but TV, computer games, sex, and excessive business, i.e. the workaholic.

Sometimes the memories that create the symptoms are deliberately locked away and forgotten as in child abuse. In other instances, you may have deliberately packed parts away in the attic because you felt you didn’t have time to pursue them, someone in your life disliked them, or you felt you weren’t worthy of their gifts. Perhaps they simply got left behind when you had to move someplace where a part of you felt reluctant to go. Maybe you had major surgery, chemotherapy, or a loss that you grieved so badly that a part of you hid itself away to avoid more pain and suffering. Many reasons exist for what psychotherapists refer to as “disassociation” and shamans call “soul loss.” The act of separation is a survival mechanism, but in its attempt to do good it deprives us of life-giving passion and energy.

For stories of the shamanic method of returning “souls,” read Dreaming the Soul Back Home by Robert Moss. This is the method I use. I also love Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ classic book Women Who Run with the Wolves, which combines psychotherapy with shamanism. In her, Sealskin, Soulskin story, which she uses as the HOMING: RETURNING TO ONESELF section, she tells of the return of a part that was controlled by another. It is my favorite story in the book, perhaps because I am like the Silkie who is its heroine.

No one is immune to soul loss. When a part returns you feel lighter, happier, and definitely more at peace. You have more vitality; you become closer to Estes’ Wild Woman who is both caring, daring, and in control of her own destiny.

Be advised you will need to make space for the missing part’s return and you are charged to give it the elements necessary for the energy to stay. This may be a time for play, creation, or a spiritual practice, even specific food and music that the part loved before it went on its walkabout. I found one of my missing energies walking alone on the boardwalk in Seaside, NJ. She didn’t want to move west. She was 17 or 18 and wore the light blue dress the color of the Kohr’s Custard uniform I used to wear when I worked on the boardwalk. She refused to leave the ocean and bay she loved. Hence, when I moved part of the year to the Oregon Coast, she became easier to convince to return. Since the coastlines are so different, I am still wooing her. I hope to spend a month on the Atlantic Ocean this fall and that this will be an annual addition to her care. I am still working on ideas of how to feed her the months I am in the mountains. Maybe I will need to move to get the full energy she contains. She and I are dialoging on what would make her happy.

If after reading one or both of the suggested books, or if you already know you want to form a dream circle or a way to bring parts of yourself home, contact me. I can work with you alone, or we can make some arrangements for group work in this area perhaps over the phone or on skype. Just email me at jill@drjillbakke.com and give me your story. I believe so strongly in this healing that I charge only a nominal fee and would consider forming a dream group for local Colorado Springs area people who are interested, which would meet when I am in residence for the cost of a tea and coffee.

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