mary branch



AGE: 50

"In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, then the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself'. J. Krishnamurti, 'You Are the World'.

". . . . sense perception only gives information of this external world or of 'physical reality' indirectly, we can only grasp the latter by speculative means. It follows from this that our notions of physical reality can never be final. We must always be ready to change these notions." Albert Einstein.






A Lot of Pain
Beginning January of 1995 the healing that I was aware of needing was physical. In the abdominal area of my body I had endometriosis, fibroids and cysts. I also had intestinal problems and was pre-cancerous in one area. I was going to doctors, through procedures, tests and surgeries. There was a lot of internal bleeding and a lot, a lot, of pain....

A Familiar Place and Face
The various doctors kept trying to clear it out, clean it out, make it better. But nothing was really helping permanently. There was still a lot of pain but the doctors said they’d done everything they could, short of removing the affected organs. Then one doctor suggested that there might be something going on in the joints, or within the bone structure, so, he sent me to a physical therapist. I made the appointment, thinking, “Oh, all right, I’ll go, but it’s probably not going to help....
We went through the initial screening and all that. Sure enough, the sacrum, hips, and pelvic area were out of alignment, the tailbone was broken and hinged, pointing toward my spine. The sciatic nerve was pinched. There was scoliosis of the spine.

The Big Jolt
After the x-rays, etc., I came in for my first appointment of the hands-on physical therapy. David, the therapist started to loosen up my body, beginning with the head and neck and upper spine. He was holding my upper body and rolling it around when all of a sudden something happened inside of me. Some really big jolt occurred. I don’t know how to describe it. I felt it physically, it was a very deep pain. Although he was working on my upper body, the pain hit me in my abdomen, very low in the pelvic area and it just ripped through my body. And there was a really, really intense emotional content to it. It shook me up. I don’t know how to describe it . . . it was just so powerful. I was sort of in a daze while I went through the rest of that session. All I could tell him was, “It hurts!”
At the end of the appointment I went out to my car and I just sat there and bawled. All afternoon, I just sat there. I couldn’t move. It was very confusing to me because I knew something big had happened but I didn’t know what it was. Sitting in my car for hours, confused and crying, I watched the other patients go in and come back out. I wondered if what happened to me was happening to them too, and what did it mean? It was an intense, confusing and painful feeling....

An Intense Power
Then this process started where there was an overwhelming, kind of, like a . . . pull. Like a gravitational pull, or something – to David, the physical therapist. I knew something big was happening. I was being drawn by an intense power from within him -- I knew he could help me. I knew he had some answers for me....

Digging In
I was ready to really dig in to what was going on with this pain in my body. Now I realized that there were some very significant aspects of my diseases, my physical problems, that I had not been aware of before, that clearly involved my emotions, and also who I am.
Sometimes my mind would relate the physical therapy to previous experiences I’d had. During a session, or thinking about it later, I’d sometimes have flashbacks and remembrances of being abused years ago in a very degrading way, sexually and mentally....

Connecting to the Answer
Now it was January again, one year after I had first begun physical therapy. I was beginning to work with transpersonal psychotherapy. I started to explore mentally and spiritually what was going on behind my physical problems. Jane, my therapist, took me into my mind, into different levels, to areas that were in pain.
There was one particular session that was a turning point for me. In a trance state, I went into the pain in my pelvic area and experienced what it felt like. For the first time I was really in touch with a feeling of being completely isolated and alone and pushed on and pushed down, not heard, not listened to. And I could feel it so strongly. I hadn’t realized that there was a part of me that felt that way that had been stifled for so long. And that part of me was in excruciating pain. But, I got in touch with that. Then, I really tried to understand the feeling, and understand the depth of it, and get a sense of it. After I did connect with it, I felt the pain, I felt the emotional anguish. Then, Jane guided me to the opposite of that -- to the resolution to the pain – to the comfort, the other part of me that connected with the Source of the healing: the Answer....
I related my internal emotional and physical turmoil to my own perception of myself based on experiences I’d had with men -- and to my own interpretation of my value and worth as a person. This part of me, that was my healthy sexual expression, had not been allowed to come forth, and was dying.
In therapy sessions I got in touch with it and I was able to be aware of it and to get to know that aspect of myself. And, too, there was the other part, the comfort and the security, the part that David represented, that was at another level within me and had also been beyond my grasp to know -- just as the hurt part had been beyond my conscious knowing. Now I felt both. I felt the pain and I felt the comfort....

A Certain Joy
There was a certain joy that came forth as a result of my healing process that was beyond anything that I’d ever experienced in my life. The freedom to be myself! It was an acceptance of my sensuality or femininity--just being a woman. And being okay with that....

Different Expressions
The wounded part of me drew my attention with physical disease and pain. By looking deeply into it, I became aware that the pain that I had in my physical body I also had emotionally and mentally, and also at the spiritual level. Once I reached the spiritual level, I was able to draw the courage and strength I needed to work with the pain. I think of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects as distinctly different expressions of the same thing....

Finding Love and Support
When I was involved with the inner struggle, I needed people around to remind me which course was going to be helpful for me -- people who did not feed the old pattern, but helped to nurture the new way of being that I was going for. I think more than anything, I just needed support.
I found that support in therapy, with the right therapist for me. And with talking to friends and family who would listen to me without judgement. I got a lot of help through seeking reading material. I’d go to the library and just start looking at books. I’d be drawn to certain books and certain information that would speak to me and help me.
The biggest and best resource for guidance and comfort is my internal support. In meditation and prayer I got in touch with spiritual beings. One Being in particular has guided me and helped me all through this process. No matter what happens, as long as I remember that he is there, I have everything I need -- the strength, acceptance, compassion and assistance, just the total loving presence that is always there for me. Everything that I am not, he is for me so that united we are total and complete. It was this loving acceptance that jolted me through David’s hands. By following its gentle flow, I was led to people who expressed this loving acceptance and offered me assistance: my therapists, my dance teacher, my strength trainer, the energy workers. It is a powerful force when we are open to it.

Opening the Door
There were definite shifts in my consciousness that I can try to describe. There was an awareness of an expanded reality. My whole reality changed as my perception of myself changed. It was like being inside of a house my whole life and not even realizing that there was an outdoors! My usual way of being in the world was limited, there were walls around, blocking my view. As new parts of me came forth, I began to notice windows to the outside world. When I discovered there was a door that led outside, it was like, “Wow! There’s so much more!”
Eventually I found the courage and stepped out the door. It was very scary and confusing at first, terrifying in fact, because it went so far beyond what I had perceived life to be. Everything that happened in my awareness had the usual familiar meaning, but there was another layer exposed that meant something deeper, more profound and beautiful. And there was another layer after that, and on and on. Life became a true adventure full of exciting exploration and discovery and surprises and blessings.
The trouble I had at first was that when I found out about the “outdoors” I couldn’t tell anyone about it because no one else I knew could see it! I had to seek out the people who could see it so I would have other people I could relate to and share the experience with. That was a real frustrating and frightening thing for me at first -- being the only one in my world who could see this new dimension. I had never heard of any kind of spiritual teaching about things like the energy system, or auras, or the Kundalini flow ( But I saw it and felt it, I became aware of it through my own experiences, and I didn’t know what it was. Then I heard about, and I read about it and found my support. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to discover that this is for real – and I’m not crazy after all!...
I try to give to other people what I feel I need the most, because I don’t see myself as just an individual. Now, my whole world is me. And every person in the world is me. I want to be as helpful and considerate to everyone I meet, since we belong to each other and are truly one.
I feel that I am in relationship with my world around me and that the support I need is there. It is a helpful place, a loving place. I think the whole range of possibility is still there -- the good, bad, light, dark, up, down, in, out -- but my own awareness, and my involvement in the process is a positive thing. That’s what I look for and choose, so that’s what I see and experience.





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The illustrations on this page are courtesy of Francene Hart.
The inspirational art-making of visionary artist Francene Hart "acts as a bridge between this reality and a metaphorical world of healing, continuity, and transformation." To view a gallery of Francene's work, please visit

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