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Huna: Aka-Mana Patterns

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The idea of Aka and Mana is drawn from Huna, a tradition of knowledge that has been stored in Hawaii for the last thousand years or so. According to its oral history, it was brought to Hawaii for conservation in times of darkness. You can trace the progression of Huna from northern Africa all the way to India and throughout Melanesia. This system of knowledge has become incorporated into certain native practices of Hawaiian Shamanism.

The Great Feminine

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

The concept of a Great Feminine principle is common to many cultural and religious traditions. The icon of the Great Feminine is viewed in these traditions as the generator and caretaker of life. The images of the Great Feminine vary from tradition to tradition, but the values and qualities of these images are surprisingly consistent. Whatever her form, she is always considered a protector and guardian of life.

Boundaries: A Case Study

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

When people come into my office with relationship problems, they do not always realize they’re dealing with boundary issues. Many people think if they’re being treated badly in relationship, they must be doing something wrong. This is generally due to a lack of understanding about boundaries, and this lack of understanding usually stems from a place of unworthiness. The person being mistreated believes they’re flawed in some way, and makes compromises to stay in relationships where they are suffering. Boundary issues almost always arise when a person doesn’t feel lovable, and consequently, they’re willing to do almost anything to get another person’s approval. Because they don’t love themselves, they are dependent on others to be sources of love and validation.

Buddhist Meditation in Depth Hypnosis

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Depth Hypnosis is a therapeutic process that blends elements of Shamanism, Buddhism, transpersonal psychology, hypnotherapy, and energy medicine. Buddhism is one of the main engines of Depth Hypnosis, and meditation is one of many tools we use to help clients alter their state of consciousness. Meditation enables clients to shift their focus from their “thinking minds” to their inner experience.

Manifesting Vs. Magical Thinking

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Question: I believe in manifesting, but sometimes I worry that my thinking is “magical.” What’s the difference between manifesting what you want in life and magical thinking?

Isa: Manifestation is the process of moving into the unknown. To manifest properly, you have to be clear about what you want to manifest and why. Having a clear intention focuses your awareness, creating more possibilities for manifesting what you want.

Listening to Grief

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Grief is an uncompromising teacher, but it can take you to depths within yourself and teach you things nothing else can. It is only when we sit down with grief and receive what it has to offer us that healing can begin.

One of the greatest teachings grief has to show us is that the world is not what we thought. This is important because we all have misconceptions about the nature of reality and about our agency in the world. It is common to become deluded about what is real and what is not real. Often people think they can avoid or control pain in an effort to generate a reality where it does not exist. In this way, delusion is the basis for suffering. It takes strong medicine to break through delusion, and grief offers this medicine by providing the opportunity to unravel our misconceptions about the nature of reality.

Engaged Listening on the Path to Coming to Peace

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

There truly is a wellspring of peace within each of us. To reach it, we must look in the most surprising place: right in the heart of conflict. When we examine our conflicts with others, a light shines on all the places where we have moved away from this wellspring. Conflict— and the path we must embark on to resolve it— serves as a beacon guiding us back to our inner peacefulness. To get there, we must first learn to recognize the kind of “light” or awareness that our conflicts with others are offering us.

Finding Meaning in Divorce

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Question: I just got divorced and it’s brought up a lot of shame for me. I feel like I failed in my marriage. How do I deal with the shame?

Isa: Whenever you have shame, you have blame. It sounds like there might be an internal conflict going on, where one part of you is blaming you and one part of you is receiving the messages of blame and feeling ashamed. I would recommend sitting down and exploring the part of yourself that is making you feel ashamed.

One way to do this is to think about all of the expectations you had going into the marriage. Consider the expectations you had of yourself, the expectations you had of the other person, and the expectations you had of the marriage itself and what you hoped it was going to do for you. For instance, if you got married because you wanted to feel validated by your family, ask yourself why you didn’t feel validated before you were married. You have to honestly examine your motivations for entering the marriage to discover what is behind these expectations. As you become clear about what your expectations were, you’re going to see how you respond when your expectations are not met.

Encountering the Great Mother in the Birth Environment

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

To understand the essence of the Great Mother, it is helpful to look to the earth. From the moment we are born until the moment we die, we are held in the earth’s embrace, and it has many valuable lessons to offer us about motherhood. The earth is abundant, nurturing, unyielding, and adapting. The Great Mother is the embodiment of these qualities, offering us tremendous teachings about the mutuality of experience in the natural world.

You can find the power of the Great Mother expressed in the many mother goddesses appearing in different cultures around the world — Pachamama in the Andes, Tara in the Himalayas, Quan Yin in China, Isis in ancient Egypt, and Hera, Thera and Athena in Greece and Rome. There is a widespread understanding among different cultures about the importance and necessity of being in alignment with the power of the Great Mother, not only to bring forth life but also to nurture life in a way that is beneficial for everyone.

Despite a lack of understanding about mothering and matriarchal priorities in the west, the power of the Great Mother is accessible to women in the modern time. By connecting with this power, women can sustain themselves no matter what is happening in their birth process. Women can use their connection with this power to receive guidance and to understand the deeper meaning of their experience.

Unexpected Pregnancy

By Isa Gucciardi, Ph.D.

Question: I’m pregnant and I’m having a hard time connecting to my child. I wasn’t planning on getting pregnant and I’m not sure how I feel about it. What can I do to feel more connected to my child?

Isa: First of all, there isn’t anything wrong with you if you don’t feel connected to your child right away. This is a huge moment in your life, and you need to give yourself all the time and space you need for this pregnancy to fully register for you.

If you can’t connect with your child immediately, it’s likely because you need to take time to explore the ways you’re going to change as you become a mother. In order to connect with your child, you first have to connect with yourself. If you don’t put your own emotional and physical needs first, it will be more difficult to connect. Focusing on yourself in this way is not selfish, but will actually be beneficial for your child.

When preparing for motherhood, it is essential to reflect on what being a mother means to you and to consider how having a child is going to affect your everyday life. I recommend looking at your own definition of “mother” and examining the way you were mothered. If you have been well-mothered, reflect on what values you might emulate as a mother for your child. If you were not mothered well, there may be places within you that need healing.

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