Sunday, April 13 2008
Brenda was in Dublin recently to publicise her plans to open a school for personal growth and to give details of workshops in April. Yet, in spite of her hectic schedule, she found time to delve into the issues besetting this country right now; young people in crisis, for example. “Suicide is big everywhere and that is very sad. I see it as a symptom of something bigger – as a presentation of an unfolding story,” she says.
She believes problems, whether emotional or behavioural, have their roots in traumas experienced perhaps decades previously that later manifest as drug dependency, depression or physical illness. Brenda says people can become suicidal when core problems are not resolved, when support is lacking and society fails to fulfill the needs of the individual. Social uncertainty can also lead to copycat suicides. “It’s been shown if someone in a family, or a friend, commits suicide, a certain threshold has been crossed. Something has happened that has allowed suicide to settle into the culture. In a twisted kind of way, copycat suicides have a sense of belonging that says we are going to die in the same way.”
She says some misguided young people tune into very negative websites instead of seeking nurturing help. This was apparently the case in Wales, where 17-year-old Natasha Randall was recently found hanged. This followed the suicides in the past year of several teenage boys from the same area. Brenda believes such trends signal an urgent need to look at the way society is evolving and to plug the gaps left by religion and lost social traditions. “If we look back 10 or 20 years, young women would often attempt suicide, but would rarely complete it. The ones who did complete were very old men who had lost their partners and were very, very lonely,” she explains.
She believes substance abuse – which definitely includes alcohol – puts vulnerable people at even greater risk. “Heavy drinking removes social inhibitions, allowing people to behave in ways they might not usually do. Substance abuse, which is quite big in Ireland, has always had an association with suicide,” she says.
Brenda believes other contributing factors are the breakdown of family and community structures, unrealistic expectations, pressure to achieve, consumerism and the diminishing influence of the Church.
She believes young people could be brought back from the brink if they were helped to find their true passion in life. She says it’s crucial to match the therapy to the individual: “You need to get kids in non-threatening groups and then encourage them to talk in their own language. Listen to what they say and see what the stresses in their lives are, rather than deciding for them what they need.”
Brenda believes it is important to give people hope: they should know that, no matter how grim things may seem, their life experiences may in fact be exactly the lessons they needed to change direction and flourish. “Even the things that seem awful at the time, that hurt us, can prompt us to grow in meaningful ways. Negative things can become our soul’s opportunity to grow. Each of us came with a unique covenant from the Divine and the resources to achieve that.”
She says the measure of our greatness is how we deal with adversity – how tall we manage to stand after a fall. Referring to her point about having a purpose in life, Brenda is surely the perfect case in point. “I love what I do – it gives me stamina and energy. People who commit suicide have often lost their purpose, so we need to help them regain that. I have a passion for being of service to people.”
“Maybe that [concept] was inculcated by the Church in the past. If we look at people who were never happy, who never felt fulfilled, then helping them find their passion is important. If each of us can add something positive to another life, they then have something they didn’t have before. It can be something as simple as a smile or a hug, but it can really tip the balance the other way,” Brenda says. And not many people have worked harder than Brenda in this regard. She has been helping others back to good health physically, emotionally and mentally for most of her life. She has been a healer by nature since the age of four (she came from a humble background in northern England). And, although she qualified medically, ultimately she believes the root cause of much of what is wrong with us lies in our energy centres or chakras.
Brenda says, aside from our visible physical selves, there is a part of us that loves and feels inspiration. This, she says, is the soul, which has a physical structure in the shape of an aura around the body. Auras vibrate at different speeds and their colours reflect our mood and health. Certain tuned-in people can see and read auras with ease. “Neglecting this part of us results in our bodies having to speak to us in symptoms. If I deal with my chakras, the soul messages don’t have to come down on a psychological, emotional or physical level,” she explains.
Brenda says taking care of her chakras is as much a part of her daily routine as cleaning her teeth. “That means letting go of stuff that happened to me in the past or updating what I know already so I can move on.” She believes that holding on to negative emotions, such as resentment, anger, or jealousy, causes the chakras to become blocked, leading to mental or physical sickness. “Let go of the anger and pain and the symptoms will usually be relieved,” she says.
Brenda’s recipe for contentment is this: “My life plan is to do my work. I stay in the moment; no worrying about the past, or the future. I feel gratitude about everything – so life is a ball.”
By Joy Orpen in the Irish Independent Magazine