Journey of healing - You 2004

AT THE age of eight Raashka Mannie of Durban was so badly asthmatic she once had to be rushed to hospital from school. Attacks were brought on by her allergies – she was allergic to a host of things, including pollen, dust and peanuts.

“It was as if she was allergic to the world,” says her mother, Jayshree (39). She decided to look deeper for the cause of her daughter’s problems – in the little girl’s subconscious mind, where painful memories and bottled-up emotions build up and make people ill. Jayshree had personal experience: at the age of 27 she got bad acne as a result of her inability to cope with her father’s sudden death.

She was assisted by the Journey process that helps to uncover unresolved trauma deep in the subconscious. You then make peace with the trauma and with those who caused it.

YOU has written before about the internal journey to healing developed by American Brandon Bays after a tumour the size of a basketball was discovered in her womb. It disappeared within six weeks after Brandon, who was abused as a child, found a way to deal with traumatic experiences from her youth.

When Jayshree started a journey process with Raashka a memory welled up from when she was only 18 months old. “My nanny told me a lot of things that made me feel scared,” Raashka (now 11) says. “She said I couldn’t go outside because the dogs would bite me, the cats would scratch me and there were people waiting to kidnap me.”

The process helped Raashka come to terms with her fear and realise her babysitter had meant her no harm.

Raashka never suffered asthma or allergic reactions again and Jayshree, a teacher, began to use the method to help her learners. After three months their pass rate increased from 67 per cent to 93 per cent. And the behaviour of kids with concentration problems improved significantly.

THAT success led to a project being launched in the second school term this year in eight KwaZulu-Natal schools which sees 15 minutes of every school day being dedicated to the Journey process. It involves more than 1 000 learners, 28 trained teachers and education experts from University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Through the Journey process parents can help children deal with painful memories and experiences such as school bullying
The project runs until the end of the third term.

Children in rural schools who’re taking part in the project often live with violence. Jayshree recalls a boy whose father was shot and killed in front of him during a robbery. The boy fled to his home and was too scared to leave the house, becoming withdrawn and quiet. After experiencing the Journey process at school he became more talkative and developed self-confidence.

Urban kids often struggle with peer pressure and drug abuse – the Journey process can help them find the courage to say “no”.

Although adults perform guided meditation, young children can simply listen to the bedtime story in Brandon Bays’ new book, The Journey for Kids. It’s about Jamie who got lost in a

Hidden memories of hurts or traumatic events can cause illness – so confront them in your subconscious

MAIN PICTURE: Sharon Johnson of Cape Town and her daughter, Julia (11), with the book that helped put an end to the girl’s headaches. RIGHT: Jayshree Mannie (left), a school-teacher, started using the Journey process to help her learners after it cured her daughter, Raashka (11), of asthma. ABOVE: A learner’s sketches before and after her inner journey – first her heart was “crying” but not it is “soft and clean”.

market and was too embarrassed to tell his mom how scared he was.

He comes across magical stairs that lead to a place where he’s surrounded by light and happiness. Behind a magical door he finds an angel-guide and a gleaming spacecraft in which he travels inside his own body.

There’s also a cosy campfire where, as if watching a video, he can look at this painful experience of the past. He’s allowed to choose brightly coloured balloons from a bunch; each one contains a gift such as courage, self-confidence, the ability to seek help or a crystal dome that makes criticism simply run off him. When Jamie views the rerun of this incident a second time he uses these new resources to handle the situation better. The story is punctuated with questions such as: “If you were to sit by a warm campfire what memory might come up for you?”

It’s written for children aged five to seven but can also form the basis of the Journey process for eight- to 12-year-olds. Teenagers can follow the Journey designed for adults.
Julia Johnson of Cape Town was nine when she experienced an inner journey for the first time. “I’d heard that it worked,” she says.

She suffered headaches every day, sometimes so badly she couldn’t go to school. Neither a doctor nor a chiropractor could pinpoint a cause so Julia asked her mom, a Journey practitioner, if she could try the process.

It unlocked a painful memory of a teacher at an extramural class showing her work to the rest of the class and saying: “This is what you mustn’t do.”

It had been a cruel blow for Julia. “She’s a perfectionist,” says mom Sharon. “She got the idea she wasn’t good enough.”

Part of the healing process takes place at an imaginary campfire where you discuss your problem with the person who offended you. It was here that Julila [sic] realised teachers criticise not to humiliate pupils but the help them. Julia forgave her teacher – and more than two years later she’s free of tension headaches.

HOW can parents help their kids deal with the trauma of a burglary, for instance, or of being bullied or criticised at school?

“Some parents think it best to pretend it didn’t happen because they don’t want to reopen the wound but from a psychological point of view it’s not the way to handle the child,” says Dorianne Weil, a Johannesburg clinical psychologist who hosts radio shows as Dr D.
Traumatised children often learn that it’s bad to show their emotions. But unresolved trauma can cause internal tension and affect their behaviour.

You must encourage children to speak without putting pressure on them, Dorianne says. “It’s incredibly important in trauma counselling to give a sense of control back to the child. The fact that the child survived means he did something to get out of the situation. Find something you can build up, such as the courage he showed, to acknowledge the kind of coping mechanism he could access.”

Dorianne recommends professional help if children’s unhappiness lasts longer than expected and they don’t want to talk about it.

The Journey process at school can be a healthy and useful way to teach children to think about themselves, other people and their own experiences, she says.