The Story of Clive and Nadine
The following story is an excerpt from the book, The Presence Process, A Journey Into Present Moment Awareness. It is written by Michael Brown. It is shared here with permission from Namaste Publishing:
One day a man called Clive phoned and asked me whether I facilitate children. He said he had a twelve-year-old daughter called Nadine who had recently been confined to a psychiatric institution. She had been diagnosed as having a bipolar mental disorder and was being administered Lithium.
Clive related that he was recently divorced, and his daughter had consequently been living with his ex-wife. Apparently, after their divorce proceedings, Nadine, unbeknown to him, had taken to strange and unpredictable behavior. This behavior included violent outbursts and apparent acts of mental derangement. It escalated so rapidly that his wife agreed, through the guidance of a psychiatrist, to have Nadine medicated and institutionalized.
Clive told me angrily that when he heard about this, he immediately rushed to the institution and removed his daughter, despite the protest of the staff. Now, he explained, he had a severely drugged and unpredictable twelve-year-old in his house and wanted to know whether I would facilitate her. My reply took him off guard: “No. But if you are willing to come and experience this work, she will be able to integrate her condition.”
I briefly explained to him that when we have children, unless we resolve our own childhood imprinting, it’s automatically passed onto them. I told him that until children are able to integrate what we imprint upon them, they cannot have their own authentic experience. I told him that all troubled children are reflections of troubled parents.
I then asked him what his ex-wife’s response was to their daughter’s condition. He said she was obviously concerned, but satisfied that the psychiatric institution would “deal with it” – even if it meant Nadine lived an institutional life laced with Lithium. She couldn’t cope with Nadine at home, and she didn’t intend to. He said that although she was apparently unable and unwilling to take on Nadine, he had to because he couldn’t cope with the idea of his daughter remaining in this predicament another moment. He said he felt traumatized by witnessing her condition.
I told him that from our brief conversation, because of his deep concern for his daughter, and because he had approached me with this predicament, it was evident his daughter’s situation was to a larger extent a reflection of his unintegrated childhood issues. I explained that this was why he was “the deeply concerned one.” I said: “There is nothing wrong with your daughter, Clive. She is reflecting your unintegrated childhood imprinting. When you integrate your suppressed emotional charge, she will simultaneously regain wellbeing.”
Understandably, he was startled. He said he hadn’t heard of such an approach. I then asked him what happened to him when he was a twelve-year-old. There was a silence on the phone. Then his voice came back weakly: “My father left us. How did you know something happened when I was twelve?” I briefly explained the seven-year cycle. I then asked whether he recognized that his past circumstances were repeating right now, like clockwork, in his daughter’s life experience. Could he see that his recent leaving of his daughter because of the divorce was a repeating pattern that was playing out within her experience? He replied that until this moment, he was unaware his daughter’s condition had any connection with his troubled youth.
To this day, I don’t think Clive really digested what I said about “emotional imprinting” or the nature of the seven-year cycle until he completed the process himself. I believe he initially agreed to my approach of first integrating his experience rather than me facilitating his daughter because he was desperate and because, like him, I strongly disapproved of Nadine’s medicated predicament. It was also profoundly insightful for him to make the connection between his daughter’s current predicament and his own unintegrated emotional condition. Clive agreed to enter The Presence Process immediately. He also agreed to calculate how to gradually wean Nadine off her Lithium in such a way that she would be off the medication in the time it took him to complete his journey through the process. Bear in mind that the version of the process Clive experienced through personal facilitation isn’t what we go through in the book. In addition to the process as presented within this book, personal facilitation involved one three-hour facilitated breathing session per week, accompanied by sessions of personal mirroring by myself, together with three three-hour water sessions in very warm water. None of this is to be attempted alone. I won’t tell you that what Clive went through with Nadine over the course of this ten-week period was easy, but it was an authentic experience for both of them. Because of his commitment to completing the personally facilitated version of The Presence Process (a service I no longer offer), the intimacy of a father and daughter relationship was resuscitated, and joyfulness gradually seeped back into their home.
For the first three weeks, Clive continued to attend to the process fueled primarily by faith and the desperation of a concerned father. I personally had no doubt about the inevitable consequence of his quest because I have witnessed over and over the integrative capacity of The Presence Process. He appeared to have no alternative but to persist, and I’m sure that for the first few weeks, he clung to my absolute certainty about the possibility of accomplishing integration. As Clive touched on and integrated the traumas within his own emotional body, miraculous shifts manifested. He had arrived home from work to discover sudden, inexplicable changes in Nadine’s behavior. He had arrived at his session with me shaking his head in disbelief. “She isn’t shouting at me anymore” became “she sat in the kitchen and spoke to me last night,” which became “she started doing the dishes with me last night without my even asking her to,” which then became “she put her arms around me in the car today and told me she loved me.”
As Clive’s ten weeks concluded, Nadine was back in school, completely off her medication, doing whatever teenage girls do. His ex-wife was startled, especially when Clive dropped Nadine off to spend some time with her. Nadine’s approach to her schoolwork was also transformed to such an extent that her teacher phoned Clive with glowing reports. As Clive left after completing his final session with me, he asked, “Why does the world not know about this work?” Of course, I smiled, because I know there’s a time and place for everything. He said he wanted to write a book about what had happened. I knew this was his way of saying how grateful he was for the fruits and flowers of present moment awareness. I sincerely hope he one day writes Nadine’s story for the Clives and Nadines of this world. If not, his voice is heard through the sharing of this case study.
Clive and Nadine’s story is just one of many. I have chosen to share their story with you because I intend you to know in your heart that The Presence Process isn’t about us going around healing this world or anyone in it. It’s about us having the guts to integrate our own experience of it. This process isn’t to be used for interference. We aren’t to suggest to someone that they do The Presence Process so they will become the type of person we think they ought to be. Remember that the road paved with good intent often leads into hellish outcomes, especially when our unconscious intent is to change others so they fit neatly into our picture of life. When we don’t like what we perceive about others, we are to change our perception by integrating the relevant emotional charge within us, not by tinkering with the outer circumstances we observe. The Presence Process is intended as a journey we take for and into ourselves, by ourselves. But as we perceive through Clive and Nadine’s story, the miracle of it is that when we unconditionally activate present moment awareness, all benefit. Authentically activated present moment awareness radiates like the scent of ripe peaches.