Stories from the Inner Side

(Transcripts from video session)

Burning the Teachers Cloak

Jan volunteered for a single videotaped session with Fred Olsen to document the process as part of a Dream Masters series directed by Kent Smith in 1988.  Under new policies for teachers in the California schools, Jan was required to pass an algebra examination to maintain her teachers credential.  She had experienced a math block since childhood and was afraid that her teaching career might be in jeopardy.  Her choice of an issue for the session was to work on the math block directly.

The following are the verbatim transcripts from the videotaped session.  In the session, we were able to track the source of the math block to a specific conflict with an elementary teacher as well as to a parental style in her household.  The math block was successfully resolved and Jan went on to study and pass the exams unaffected by her previously debilitating anxiety.


Fred: I understand you have an issue that you would like to work on.

J: Yes. I’ve decided to go back to school and one of the things that I need to do is pass algebra this semester.  I was thinking I could work on that instead of a dream.  I feel that I have a real math block and possibly we could get behind that and find out what some of those blocks are.  Hopefully I can pass algebra this semester-

F: Sounds like a good adventure.

J: Right.  Also last night, before I went to bed, I meditated for a while.  I had a dream probably about this session that I am going to do today.  I don't recall the dream, but it felt like it related to the concerns I have.  It felt like it related to this session we're having today.

F: The way I'd like to start is for you to get in touch with the feeling you have about the math block.  Can you do that?

J: Uh huh.

F: Where is it located in your body?

J: Hmm. I feel like in my throat.

F: Okay.  Can you get in touch with that feeling in your throat?  <short pause>  Sort of amplify it a little bit.  Then go there.  What do you see?

J: Hmm.  I see me as a small child in elementary school sitting at a desk.

F: Okay.  How old are you there?

J: Eight or nine.

F: Eight or nine years old?  What's the setting?

J: I see myself at a desk alone.  I have the sense that I'm in a classroom.  I don't see other people.


F: How does it feel to be alone there - in that classroom?

J: Uhm.  Rather, I think I feel alienated.

F: Alienated?

J: Mm hmm.  I think, my sense is that,...hmm...that the other children understand, but I don't.  I'm kind of standing out even though in the room I'm alone.  I think I get that kind of sense.  I'm the only one that doesn't get it.


F: How does it feel to be the only one that doesn't get it?

J: Not very good.  I feel like I'm marching to a different drummer, like I'm out of step.

F: What do you need right there, at this moment, in that picture?

J: Hmm.  I feel like I need support from my parent.  Is what I need there?

F. Support from your parent?

J: Mm hmm.

F: Is there any way to get that?

J: Let's see.  Uh.  Well, I could be the parent and support the child.

F: Okay, can you do that?

J: Yeah.

F: Where are you in the scene?

J: Standing behind the child, or me, over the desk.

F:  What do you want to do?

J: Uh.  Maybe just touch the child and explain to her where she's confused.

F: What happens when you touch her?

J: Hmm. <pause>.

F: What's happening right now?

J: It's kind of hard to describe.  There's a sensation that is kind of like light it seems to be.   I can't think how else to describe it.  It seems to … ahhh ... enlighten.  That's what I'm thinking right now.

F: Where's that sensation?

J: In me?  It’s in my throat.

F: Tell me what you see in your throat right now.

J: A block.


F: What does it look like?

J: It's dark.  It's square.

F: What is it made out of?

J: It looks like a wood block.  It looks like it is made out of wood.

F: Okay.

J:  It's a very dark and hard wood.

F: Where's that light you were experiencing?

J: Uhm.  I sense the light coming off of the child.

F: And where is the nine-year-old child right now?

J: I still have a sense that she's sitting at the desk

F: She's at the desk, enlightenment is coming.  Where's the wooden block?

J: I have the sense that the wooden block is in my throat.

F: In your throat, as you're standing there?

J: Right.  No, as I'm sitting here, not as I'm standing in the room.

F: Okay.  So these are different scenes

J: Right

F: So which would you like to deal with?

J: I think the wooden block in my throat.

F: Okay.  Can you take a journey down to where that wooden block is?

J: Yeah.

F: Are you there?

J: Yes.  I am.

F: Where are you in relation to the block?

J: Standing on top of it.

F: How old are you? ... as you are standing on the block?

J: Eight.

F: And what are you wearing?

J: A blue dress.

F: Is that an outfit that is familiar?

J: Yes.

F: What was happening when you wearing that blue dress that you just saw?

J: I was severely disappointed in my father.

F: You see that scene?

J: Hmm.  I think what I see is the aftermath, which is the eight-year- old child crying.  I think I was beaten by my father.

F: Do you know what you were beaten for?

J: No I don't have any sense of what it was for.

F: What does that eight-year-old child want to do?

J: I think play.

F: What does she need in order to play?

J: I think she needs to ….  I think the parents hold on too tightly.  I get the sense they are to strict.

F: So, what do you want to do about the parents holding on too tightly and being too strict?

J: Not discipline the child so severely and also allow the child more freedom to be alone and to play.

F: Is there any way you can accomplish that - in this picture?

J: Hmmm.  I guess by changing the attitudes of the parents.

F: Where are your parents right now?  Can you see them?

J: Yes.

F: Where are they?

J: In the living room.

F: And where are you?

J: I'm in the living room also.

F: Where are you in relationship to them in the living room?

J: I'm in the doorway and they're sitting on chairs.

F: And how old are you there?


J: Eight.

F: What would you like to say to them?

J: Right now, I'm a five-year-old child?  I have a sense that they don't see me.

F: So what do you see happening?

J: I would like them to listen to me.

F: Can you tell them that?

J: Yeah.

F: What happens when you say that?

J: I have a sense that they are paying attention.

F: So let's watch that picture. You've asked them to pay attention, and listen.  Now that they are listening, what would you like to say? What would you like to tell them?

J: I think I would like a more creative environment.  I would like more creative toys, to focus on experiments and abilities rather than ….  I feel really boxed in.

F: What?

J:  Well that being boxed in reminds me of what I was experiencing in my throat

F: Okay.  So what would you like to do with the box ... and the block that is in your throat?


J: Well, first of all, I think I would like to speak to my parents

F: So, do that.  Tell them how boxed in you feel.

J: I feel very boxed in.  I feel very inhibited because of the types of toys that I have to play with.  I only had dolls and such as a child.  So, I would like puzzles and games to challenge me.  I would like them to speak to me like I was an adult rather than talking down to me like a child.

F: Can you tell them that?

J: Mm hmm.

F: What happens when you tell them that?

J: They're sitting there listening . I would also like not to be beaten.  I've got to be spoken to.

F: What's happening to you right now as you say that to them?


J: Well, it feels really good to say those things, because, I guess, I really never thought about that time in my childhood.  Some of my needs, that I was not given as a child.  It wasn't that I was an impoverished child.  It was just thoughtless parents, I guess.  Hmmm.  It feels good to say those things.  I feel as though I've been able to say some of the things I would say as a child.

F: After you say all those things to your parents, what happens?

J: I have a sense of them being surprised.

F: Okay.

J: Maybe apologetic too.  They had their difficulties too.  And maybe just were left with how they learned to discipline children from their parents.  So, it feels good to tell them those kinds of things.

F: What's happening in the little girl's body now as she says those things?  How does she feel?

J: A sense of stress that seems to be draining.

F: What does that stress look like?

J: It's dark.

F: What's its shape?

J: Very erratic long lines, like lightning bolts in my shoulders, jagged, but dark.

F: Okay. ...

J: That feels good.

.... <tape is difficult to decifer>...

F: What's taking its place?

J: I have a sense the lines are over the child.  They seem to be focused around the head and shoulders.

F: Go to that light in the head and shoulders?

J: Mm hmm.  I feel as though I've become that child.  So I feel that light around my head and shoulders.

F: What color is that light?

J: It's a bright yellow.

F: What does that light encounter?

J: I have a sense that it is surrounding my head and shoulders, outside my head and shoulders.

F: Outside?

J: Mm hmm.

F: What's happening inside?  Is it going out or is it coming in?


J: I think it's both.

F: It's not just outside?

J: No.  I feel when it's getting inside, its bending.

F: Okay, how does it bend9

J: When it goes through my shoulders, it's bending.

F: So, your whole body is in the light?

J: Mm hmm.

F: Is there anymore of that darkness coming in?

J: No, it feels very cold.

F: That block is gone?

J: I don't see it there.

F: What's happening in the scene now?

J: Hm.  I have a sense other children have moved into the room.

F: Okay

J: I see the teacher

F: Uh huh.

J: Interesting.  It is a teacher that I didn't get along with too well.

F: There's the class.  Theres kids in the class.  You're there.  You still have this light.  What would you like to do?

J: I'd like to spread it all over the place

F: What happens when you spread it around?

J: Hmmm.  It feels very good.

F: What would you like to say to the teacher?

J: I wish she hadn't been so angry.  I think she was an excellent teacher, but she had some deep anger.

F: How did that anger affect you?

J: I feel like I took it on.

F: How did you take it on?


J: Hmmm.  Let's see, huh, I feel like a cloak.  I guess that's my first response.

F: Okay, can you see the cloak?

J: Uh huh.

F: What does it look like?

J: It's long and it has ties at the end.

F: How does it feel?

J: It feels very heavy.

F: What would you like to do with it?

J: I'd like to take it off and burn it.

F: Can you do that?

J: No.

F: What do you need to burn that cloak?

J: Now I see smoke going up and I see … huh ... what is left, is like when you take a piece of paper and burn it.  You just have this burned shell of ashes.

F: What would you like to do with that burned shell of ashes?

J: I have a sense that it has been transformed, so I don't feel any need to do anything with it.

F: What's happening between you and the teacher?  Is the teacher still there?

J: Yeah.  I'm walking down the aisle to connect with her.  It's coming to me.  There must have been some kind of disagreement, or misunderstanding, between us.  It's as though through some circumstances, that she lost faith in me.  I was an honored person and something happened, and she decided that I wasn't the same person that I was before.  Huh.

F: How would you like to approach that with her?  What came to light?

J: I would like to tell her that no matter what transpired, I was the same person after the incident that I was before the incident.

F: What happens?

J: She shakes my hand.

F: What's happening?

J: (sigh)  It feels resolved.  Hmmm.  I'd like to tell her.  'Why did you give up so easily on a child?'

F: How's that important?


J: Well, teachers are very important to children and I have a sense that by a click of a line she just left a heavy burden on me when I was at a very formative age.

F: Can you tell her what you need from her now?

J: I need a big hug.

F: What's her response?

J: She hugs me.  I think what I need is forgiveness for something that I did.

F: Do you want to ask her about that?

J: Hmm.  I know what it is, and it is pretty outrageous.  My job is to dust a section of the upper auditorium once a week.  I think I forgot one time.  There was going to be some kind of goings on for the school and I forgot to do my job.

F: Pretty outrageous

J: Right, pretty outrageous.  It’s Pretty outrageous that she would be so angry.  She was angry because I had forgotten to do that.

F: What do you need to do to finish that up with her?

J: I need to tell her that I think it was pretty outrageous of her to put such a burden on me for such a trivial thing.  It was pretty outrageous for a nine-year-old to take so much on over such a trivial thing.

F: Hmmm

J: I guess it goes both ways.

F: So can you guys let that one go.

J: Mm hmm.

F: How are you feeling?

J: Great.

F: Now I want you to look ahead to your algebra examination.  What do you see?

J: I see myself sitting quietly at the test.

F: How are you feeling there?

J: It feels very comfortable.  I feel very relaxed.

F: Do you know what you need before that, before the exam, to feel relaxed?

J: To meditate frequently, to make sure I stay on top of my homework, and I won't let it get behind.

F: Do you see yourself at your desk with the homework?

J: Mm hmm.


F: How does it feel to be there now?

J: Comfortable.

F: Can you bring the light to it?

J: Mm hmm.

F: Okay.

J: It feels like a very relaxed, natural situation.

F: Hmm.

J: It feels very complete.  I feel like I've come full circle.  Thank you Fred. <laughter>  That was great. <sigh>.

End of reentry session


J: Well, I never thought I would go back to first grade, but here I am.  It feels good.  I feel very complete.  I feel like I've come full circle.

F: It will be interesting to see how it goes with your homework.

J: I'm looking forward to finding out.  It also was a great feeling to go back and talk to my parents as an adult and to stand there with that child and sense the power the parent has over the child.  But at the same time feeling like the adult too.  So being the child and feeling the child and feeling the power I have as an adult now.  To go back and tell them some of the things I think they did wrong.  And that makes me feel better.  It's not that it's going to change them.  It would have been nice if they had done it differently

F: Isn't it amazing how those incidents become solidly rooted in our bodies, how they carry through and affect even what we do as adults?

J: The cape.  I sensed the cape that I got from this teacher.  It was like one more thing that you carry around on your back.  So it felt good to dump it . I really got in touch with the barbs that were occurring with that teacher.  I would often go the long way, not knowing why or how or -- just by being in her presence, or something.

F: That was after that one incident?

J: I don't know if it was after, or before ... actually it might have been after.  I think that before that we had a very good relationship.

F: So she held a grudge against you?

J: Yeah, she really did.  There was no way that I could make it up to her after I failed to meet her expectations and ... huh ... it's kind of what a child does to a parent too, I think.  When they're constantly trying to live up to expectations.


F: Sounds like a good lesson for parents and teachers.

J: Yeah.

INTERVIEW with KENT (producer /camera man)

K: Well Jan,  how do you think the session went?

J: I think it went excellently.  I think it was great.

K: How was Fred?  Did you trust him and were you able to ..

J: Completely.  I felt very relaxed.

K: You were really going into rather deep stuff and you felt comfortable?

J:  I felt very comfortable with it.  I've been doing dream work for a couple of years.  I like the way Fred works, (tape ended)


This was the only session Jan had privately with Fred.  She continued to meditate and to do visualizations by herself and with an ongoing support group.  She prepared for and passed the Algebra examinations a few months later.