ONLY THE BRAVEST SOULS – the spiritual gift of another’s disability

As I walk into the bank, I note the long queue and how unusually busy it is today. It is going to be a longer than normal wait to be able to speak to someone at the counter. Even though it is so busy, and the queue is about 10 people long, there are only two active staff on the desk.

Then I realise, split seconds after, that all is not as it should be. Something out of the ordinary is going on. I can’t immediately place it, but I know that everyone is frightened. To varying degrees, and some are covering it more successfully than others. But everyone is frightened.

Some people are looking nervously around them, trying to decide whether to stay or leave. They are averting their eyes, afraid that there might be trouble.

Others are muttering to each other other under their breath, and I hear snippets. Things about “some people” and “somebody should do something.” Even something about what the world is coming to.

One woman is trying to disguise the fact that she is covering her handbag in case someone snatches it from her. An elderly man looks on, staring, unaware of how hostile the stare is.

The bank staff themselves are jittery, nervous, and I notice one clearly speaking on an intercom to someone behind the scenes, and almost immediately several extra staff come out into the main banking area.

I can feel the tension in the air, the fear, the paralysis. This hits me first as I come in through the automatic doors. It is palpable; it grips my whole body.

I wonder whether there is something like a threatened bank robbery in progress, whether I should get out while I can and go and phone for assistance. I am, after all, still next to the door. In theory, I could still escape.

But something in the air tells me something different, and I find myself walking in….

Just a few steps and then I see him. The person who is sparking such fear in everyone, and I can see why people are uneasy.

The young man in question is probably in his mid-twenties, and he is the one who is frightened. He is rocking from one foot to another, hitching up his trouser legs and fluttering them in an attempt to cool himself down. He is flicking rhythmically at his hair, wiping sweat out of his eyes. And he keeps breathing out, loudly. Big breaths. Clearly he knows about techniques to calm himself, and he is trying hard to do this.

He tries to speak, and his difficulty in making himself understood becomes apparent. He is able to pronounce only vowels. There are no consonants. He has good emphasis and intonation, and he employs mime and signs to complement his speech, but everyone is too frightened to be able to hear what he is trying to say.

I know what this is. It’s very familiar to me. I have a daughter with learning disabilities and autism, and I have spent a lifetime watching this same reaction happening. I also recognise that it is only because I am so familiar with this that I can do what I now do.

I start to approach the young man, who is in the queue, but clearly finding the wait and the crowding, and how unpredictably and unfamiliarly busy it is today, almost overwhelmingly. A middle aged man touches my arm and suggests I don’t go any nearer.

I tell him I know it will be fine. He laughs uneasily and jokes that I look like I’d have no hesitation in throwing a punch at him if need be. He has misinterpreted my intentions. He thinks that I share his perception of this young man.

I go up to the young man, who has now noticed me, and somehow is calming. I tell him that I can see he is feeling really stressed, and acknowledge how busy it is in the bank today. I tell him that I will happily keep his place for him if he would like to go away a little where there is some space. I tell him he can keep watching me and that I will help him by putting my fingers up to show him how many people there are still in front of him.

He reaches out towards me. The man who thought I might need to throw a punch moves in readiness to protect me, but stops when he sees that the young man – who tells me his name is Michael, in vowel sounds which I show I am willing to try to make out – is simply reaching out to touch my elbow and give me a huge smile.

Michael starts talking animatedly, saying how he gets stressed when it is busy or crowded. That he starts to feel he can’t breathe. I breathe out loudly and long several times, and he starts to do it with me. He is starting to feel safer. The agitated moving from foot to foot is easing.

He makes a sudden movement, holding his hand in a way that says we’re going to do a special handshake. We clasp hands and cover each other’s wrists with our thumbs. I realise this has huge meaning for him, and we laugh together at the bond we now have.

I suddenly become aware of a change in energy all around me, and as it catches my attention it catches Michael’s also. We both look up to see kindness and concern. A bank official goes to get him a cup of water, and another takes him to a seat where he can see what’s happening without feeling crowded. People are smiling at him. He gives me a huge thumbs up.

The queue forms again and we wait to be seen. Everyone is now watching, and aware. Every time another person has finished being served, they wave to let him know, and put up five fingers, then four, then three, then two.

At two, he suddenly decides to get up from where he is sitting and come and take his place back in the queue. He is no longer frightened, because the people around him are no longer frightened. Love and compassion and kindness have replaced fear.

When I have finished being served, I see that Michael is now making himself understood and having a laugh with the person who is helping him. They are working it out. I catch his eye as I leave, and we smile and put our thumbs up.

I get back to my car, and am surprised to find sudden tears falling. Oh it’s so complicated, isn’t it, this journey that we sign up for? This challenge we face every single day between fear and unconditional love?

My tears are for all of us: Michael, my daughter Becky, and myself, everyone in the bank, every single brave soul incarnated here on the journey back to remembering who we really are, and where we came from.

I am suddenly full of awe and compassion at the unconditional love that is out true nature, and how stunningly beautiful it is every single time we catch a glimpse of it in a fellow soul.

And don’t we owe so much to these strong, valiant souls who come to teach us to push beyond our fear and reach for unconditional love? What a courageous path they have chosen, for they experience such hurt and shame and misunderstanding from we who will fear before we realise that it is safe to love.

Souls like Michael. And Becky. We stand in awe, and the deepest appreciation.

In oneness, and with love.

@ Janny Juddly 2016




In case you’re wondering, this isn’t going to be one of those pieces where an empath meets a narcissist.

It’s going to be little messier—not so neat.

It’s also going to go a little deeper, not only into the psyche of the abuser, but also into the psyche of the one who can’t walk away. It’s going to involve looking deep into our shadow side, and the workings of our psyche, which is always pushing us towards health.

Before we get to how our psyche does that, however, we need to understand trauma: Every single one of us who finds ourselves entangled in an abusive or damaging relationship is actually trying to heal trauma.

I know, it might sound backwards, but when we are in an abusive relationship, our psyche somehow thinks that we can heal ourselves.

The word trauma has dramatic connotations. We tend to think it refers to someone who’s experienced a serious train crash or the violent and unexpected death of a loved one. But in actual fact trauma is anything that makes up feel that things are unsafe or unpredictable. And the most significant trauma happens to us in childhood, when we don’t have the resources that grown-ups have to deal with it.

There are two major types of trauma a child can experience. The two major wounds, if you like, that set us on the path towards a search for healing.

These are Intrusion and Abandonment.

And they don’t have to be real, or literal. They need only be experienced or perceived to be real. They simply have to make a child feel unsafe. So, sometimes we’re talking about actual abuse—sexual, physical, emotional, psychological—and sometimes we’re talking about a sensitive child who didn’t understand that teasing wasn’t meant seriously. With abandonment, we might be talking about neglect or a parent leaving or dying, but we might also be talking about a parent having appeared to stop thinking about the child, maybe because of the birth of a new baby, a parent becoming depressed or going into the hospital.

Clearly, some of these are way more deeply traumatizing than others, but we’re talking trauma nevertheless.

So, how does our psyche try to help us heal our trauma? It uses the most effective way ever! It makes us repeat the experience! (Incidentally, if it resonates with you, for “psyche” you can read “soul.”)

For many reasons, we’re drawn like magnets towards people who will recreate for us the exact same circumstances that caused our original trauma. The most obvious reason is so that we can experience a different outcome this time, by discovering that we can think and behave differently, and so bring about a better outcome. In other words, we find a way to love instead of hate.

When we do that, we’ve done the healing our psyche made us set out to do.

However, that bit usually comes last. On the way to that place, we’re likely to have to face not only our own trauma, but also the demons that our experience of that trauma placed alongside it. And we get to face them, always, by being brought face to face with someone who will mirror them back to us, because they have them too.

And they have them too, because they’ve known them, just like us.

It’s a bit like having a twin. It feels so good at first! We’re seen and known in a way we never thought possible. And this person gets it so clearly, seems to understand exactly where we’ve been, because they’ve had parallel experiences. It’s bliss! Effortless freedom!

But then it starts to go horribly wrong. This person isn’t just mirroring the good bits anymore, they’re mirroring all the other stuff too—the stuff we’ve tried to be in denial about, the bits of us that horrify us.

But that also draws us in further. There’s a part of us that’s drawn to the drama of being free to act out the demons that appal us with someone who’ll let us do that, and who’ll act them out back.

And so they start to hurt us, abuse us—often in the exact same ways that we’ve probably hurt others. And so the drama that’s meant to lead to healing unfolds. Messily. Dirtily.

Suddenly, we’re into the Abuser/Abused Dynamic, sometimes known as The Drama Triangle: Victim/Rescuer/Abuser. Round and round we go, exchanging and interchanging roles. And instead of walking away, like everyone who loves us keeps telling us to, we forgive and excuse again and again. We can’t seem to let go.

We know and recognize these wounds and we feel compelled to protect and forgive. To rescue.

But here’s the thing. Here’s the crucial thing!

See, the whole thing is just a play staged for our benefit. This is our story. And we’re our own victim, rescuer and abuser. It’s all a mirror, an illusion, one mighty holographic mirror into the human psyche. And its primary purpose is to help us find our way back to the unconditional love we actually are. We’ve met our nemesis so that we can break free and soar to our zenith. Everything is exactly as it should be, and we’re doing exactly what we came here to do: tasting the depths and heights of being fully human. And we’re doing it so well!

And actually, so is our twin! They’re playing their part to perfection too, exactly as they’d agreed. Wow, what a play, and how well it’s been staged!

See, we only get caught up in that Drama Triangle when we forget who we really are, and what’s really going on here. We only believe that our abuser needs rescuing if we believe the story that something terrible is happening. That this other person really is helpless and in need of our salvation. And also, only if we’ve forgotten who we really are and why we’re here.

And if we cling to the part of us that is hurt and twisted by pain, rather than freeing it to heal.

Once we remember that we’re actually taking part, mutually and voluntarily, in a play that—if we will only let it—will lead to healing and compassion, we’re able to look at what’s happening with fresh eyes. We realize that this other soul is on a journey too, of their own making and choosing. And that we have agreed to be co-creators for a time, for a reason, but that for each of us to fully live our purpose, we now have to let go. At least for now. In this life time. We have to walk away.

We talk so often about encountering mirrors, we refer to synchronicities, but we often tend to think on a small scale. But it’s happening on a larger scale, too, all the time. And in that knowledge, if we allow it, lies our freedom and our permission to walk away. Being fully human is their gift to us, not just ours to them. And the drama that’s been played out will have encapsulated the themes we chose to explore in this lifetime. And if we want to resolve them, the drama must end. We don’t have to make it neat; it can stay messy. After all, we have eternity.

And, knowing that, we can—and must—walk away.

@ Janny Juddly 2016


Breakdown or Breakthrough? The experience of Depression.

One of the most frequent reasons that fellow human beings come to see me, whether as a psychotherapist, a spiritual mentor, or energy worker, is because they are struggling to free themselves from an experience which is shared by every single soul on the planet, at various times: the appallingly dark and lonely place which is Depression.

It differs by degree, of-course. For some, it is a relatively temporary period of darkness, maybe six months or so. For others, it is something that is a lifelong struggle. For some, it is interspersed with periods of frantic activity designed to block it out.

No matter which it is, at the time, and while it lasts, it is one of the bleakest and most frightening experiences any of us can have. It is a time of feeling utterly alone, without help. Of feeling as if no-one could possibly understand. It is hard to believe that it could ever end, it feels so suffocating all-consuming. All joy is gone, all hope.

We look at the rest of the world going about its business as if everything is fine. People seem to be reaching for dreams, finding happiness, making plans, talking and sharing, getting on with their lives. Coping. We find it impossible to even begin to imagine how we could ever be like them.

Depression would appear to be one of the most debilitating and widespread illnesses of our Age, wouldn’t it? The medical profession, which is trained to put the emphasis upon symptom management and relief, will tell you that you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. It will therefore offer you either a course of antidepressants or a few weeks with a cognitive behavioural therapist. In the short term, these can be helpful. However, they don’t solve the problem. They help with the symptoms, but they don’t touch the cause.

I am in no way wishing to diminish the help that the medical profession is able to give. Rather, I want to point out that research shows that, if you measure the chemical imbalance in the brain prior to a course of therapy, or period of spiritual searching, or personal development work of any kind, and then measure those same chemicals at the end, you will find that those chemicals are in balance once again. The difference is that, in the latter case, you will have gained wisdom and insight and a degree of self-awareness and resilience which is a pretty good guarantee, providing you’ve done the work and seen it through, that you won’t get depressed again.

So, what is Depression? And how do you overcome it? Two pretty vital pieces of information, wouldn’t you agree? What I’m going to offer you arises out of my own training, experience, reading of research and spiritual growth. I make no claim to have a definitive answer, and it is totally fine for you to disagree with what I am going to say. However, it may help, so I’d like to at least offer it. So, here goes. Let’s come at it from a slightly different angle, if that’s okay?

Ever come across the term ‘Dark Night of the Soul?’ It refers to an experience not unlike that of Depression. It is an experience not dissimilar to terror. It is a place of feeling profoundly lost and cut off, but not knowing why. It is dark, bleak, full of despair, hopelessness and there is no joy. Most frightening of all, we find we do not know who we are. All sense of ourselves is gone. The who we were is no more, yet we do not know who we are now, or who we will become. It is existentially terrifying.

Now the reason I came at it from that angle is that, when you go deeply into the experience of Depression, rather than looking more superficially at the obvious symptoms, this is what you find:

• The sense of self is under threat

• Everything is being questioned

• There is a search for meaning, purpose and the true nature of things

• There is an overwhelming sense of loss, without knowing what has been lost

• Parts of the self which are deemed ugly or unworthy are seen as defining the person; it is who they are

• There is such a sense of failure, self-blame and often self-loathing

• There are suppressed feelings of anger which get turned in on the self rather than becoming the energy of change

• There is a searching for meaning and connection, a desire to make sense of the story, to find a context

• There is an exhaustion born of having had to pretend, cover up, be one thing in the world while feeling a quite different reality inside

We therapists talk a lot about the Real Self and the False Self. The False Self is who we have learned to believe the world requires us to be; the Real Self is who we actually are. The whole of us, including the perceived ‘unacceptable bits’ we have come to fear or despise. The person we came here to be.

Do you begin to see where I’m going with this? The experience of Depression and the experience of the Dark Night of the Soul are so similar you could even risk suggesting that they are one and the same. So I’m going to risk it.

Some years ago, a figure many of us will be aware of, Brene Brown, a researcher into vulnerability, and shame, had a major emotional breakdown when the findings of her research conflicted powerfully with the person she had constructed, and believed to be functioning successfully in the world. She discovered that, in reality, she had learned to be emotionally distant and shut down, to not trust others or herself with difficult emotion, and to pretend to be one person while actually being someone else.

Lots of people who come to see me are going through something very similar. They have been given the diagnosis of ‘a breakdown.’ However, I try to help them to discover, and experience, that is is not a breakdown at all, but rather a ‘breakthrough.’ It is the liberating process in which we gradually let go of the False Self and learn to dare to be our Real Self in the world. No more pretence. No more apologies. No more compromise. Our authentic self, in full alignment with who we really are.

The self we incarnated to be. The self we came intending to share with the world. The self whose energy will make a profound and lasting difference. Source energy, fluid love, in liquid motion, aware and conscious, connecting with others soul to soul, recognising and living oneness, because the full knowledge of who we really are is beginning to dawn.

So what am I saying, then, about Depression? Specifically, I’m suggesting that it is a message, it is a wake up call. It is highlighting how inauthentic we have learned to become, because that is what we have learned to believe that the world wants. We have learned to believe that simply being ourselves is either not enough, or will mean that others will not love us.

But do you see the con in that? Do you see the trick of the ego? Do you see the way we have learned to measure success? Do you see how easily we learn to compromise who we really are, and came here to be? And do you see how we are denying the world such a precious gift, if only we could step beyond the fear of being measured and compared and judged? Of ‘failing.’? Failing the world’s way?

If, instead, we can see the crisis as an immense push towards authenticity, and the remembering of who we really are, then at least we know what’s happening. It will still be scary, because there are big risks involved to the self we have become. Vulnerability is risky. But once we have pushed through, held our nerve and gone through the flames, and survived, I absolutely promise you that we will never, ever, look back.

Here’s to us, in all our magnificent truth and power!!

@ Janny Juddly 2016

The Therapist in my Pocket


A few days ago, I published an article here at elephant journal called Thoughts Don’t Become Reality—Understanding The Law of Attraction.

Suddenly my inboxes were so full they were heaving!

So many people welcomed the article and the clarity it offered on the difference between a thought, a feeling, a belief and an emotion, and how all of that related to Law of Attraction.

However, there were also requests for more information, seeking even greater clarity and asking the “How to” questions.

So this is a response to those. If you didn’t read the article, you don’t need to have done so in order to benefit from this one; this will stand alone.

I hope it’s helpful!

First, the Law of Attraction can’t really be disputed. We live in a vibrational reality where everything is energy, vibrating at a particular frequency. As energy, we’re not separate from everything else, since everything is the same energy; our vibrational frequency affects the vibrational frequency of everything around us, near and far.

It’s why healers can affect the recovery of someone on the other side of the world.

Most of us wouldn’t disagree. The bit we might disagree about—because we are incredibly muddled here in the West about the difference between thoughts, beliefs, feelings and emotions—is the “how” of it.

We seem to have come up with a statement, which has become a belief, that our thoughts create our realities.

However, while our thoughts are part of what creates reality, they are not the prime mover. They’re one of the company directors, if you like, rather than the CEO.

Knowing and understanding this helps a lot. It instantly gives us the power to influence our reality faster and to change it permanently.

Let’s take the two major feelings from which every single other feeling in the Universe has its source: love and fear. Everything we create, vibrationally, arises out of one of those.

Everything. No exception.

That immediately makes it a whole lot easier.

Love and fear are feelings, not thoughts. We don’t think love or fear; we feel love and fear. And our emotions respond with sensations we can’t mistake. Vibrationally, love and fear are the most powerful vibrations in the universe, and this is the stuff of creation and manifestation.

A thought can recognise what we’re feeling by noticing its emotional manifestation in our body, it can help us to understand it, to contain it, to influence it…all of which is hugely important!

At no point are we saying that our thoughts aren’t a vital component. It’s simply that, in terms of our unique vibrational signature, thoughts aren’t the biggest players; emotions are. That’s because it’s emotions that emit our vibrational frequency. Our thoughts—with practice—can notice what’s going on and make it conscious. And, in that, they are immensely useful! But it doesn’t start there, nor does it end there!

To notice that we’re feeling love or fear is a thought. To then try to make all the reasons why we’re feeling love or fear conscious, is a thought process. But the thought “I’m feeling fear” or “I’m feeling love” in itself is not vibrational; the emotional reaction going on in our body, in response to the feeling of fear or love, is what is vibrating out into the Universe and, through the law of resonance (like vibrations attract), creating our reality.

That’s why affirmations (thoughts which are stating intentions and beliefs) work for some of us and not for others. If thoughts created reality, we’d only have to keep stating affirmations and bingo!…everything we’re intending to happen would happen, right?

But that’s not how it goes.

And that’s why it feels so important to me that I try to help us all get a little clarity on this. So we can create the reality we want, by understanding this whole business of vibration.

So, here’s Marie. She grew up in a family where everyone else got what they wanted—she had fairly self-centred parents, who followed their own dreams but forgot they had a little girl who had some of her own. So, by the time Marie is a grown woman, she has some pretty powerful beliefs going on about not being entitled, and not having the power to change things. She wants to, but those beliefs keep getting in her way, because they keep emitting fear.

Bad news in terms of The Law of Attraction!

Marie’s read lots of self-help books. Oh so many. With a fair degree of desperation, truth be told. She hopes they’ll help, but deep down she doesn’t believe they can help. Or that anything can help!

Then she comes across something called Law of Attraction. It’s new and exciting and she reckons it might be the answer she’s been looking for! Everyone keeps telling her: ‘Thoughts Become Things! Change your thoughts and your reality will change!’

It sounds pretty magical, but Marie’s thinking, what can she lose!

Marie starts saying affirmations out loud to herself morning and evening. She makes a vision board. She watches motivational videos. She joins Law of Attraction groups on Facebook. She signs up to receive motivational emails every day in her inbox. She’s doing everything she can!

But her reality doesn’t change; in fact, if anything, things feel even worse!

And Marie’s bewildered. She can’t understand why!

So, how does all this help us? And Marie?

How does Marie turn all that around?

With two emotional processes: empathy and imagination. Thinking is the tool; empathy and imagination are the power sources we must plug that tool into.

When Marie changes her emotional response, which is what is vibrating out into the Universe, busily creating her reality, her reality can’t help but change.

It’s Universal Law.

So she uses:


This tells her where those emotions come from—which is always how the past felt to her, often as a child—and she can hold the hurt part of her in love and understanding (from her current adult perspective) rather than fear (the perspective of all that hurt part of her has learned to believe, and be angry and resentful about, and which is still vibrating out powerfully right now)


This helps her feel differently about her past experience, and so to conjure up a different emotional response. Notice, I said feel differently, not think differently. It’s a different emotional response she’s after, not simply different thoughts! Once Marie has used empathy to soften how the past now feels, she can tap into that adult part of her, and begin to imagine a different reality so she can create different emotional responses, which in turn must create a different current and future reality.

And once she’s got her thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions all linked in together, she’s tuned in to all the abundance and certainty the Universe has been wanting to give her all along!

It isn’t that our thoughts don’t have a part to play. They help us to think about what’s going on. But it’s our emotional signature, our vibrational footprint, which is actually creating our reality, moment by moment.

Once we get that, and learn to use it consciously, with emotional awareness, we’re truly unstoppable! When we start making intelligent use of our emotional GPS in this way, The Universe responds! It can be no other way!

Happy manifesting!

@ Janny Juddly 2017

The Therapist in my Pocket


Have you ever noticed how the memories we create are exactly the ones we need?

How the themes of our lives are driven by those same memories?

Maybe this seem like a strange way to put it.

But let’s just suppose that the memories we spend a lifetime trying to get past are actually somehow memories we have purposely chosen to create.

As a psychotherapist, who is also aware that our journey is a spiritual one, that’s exactly how I reckon life goes.

Let me show you what I mean:

The other day, a large envelope arrived for me in the post.

I knew what it was, because I could see the hand-written address and I could feel the contents through the envelope.

It was the photograph my uncle had promised to send me when we’d spoken at my Dad’s celebration of life service just after Christmas.

Now, here I was, holding the envelope in my hand and I could feel the dread gripping me.


I didn’t want to touch that envelope or even to go near it. Because I knew what it would bring.

I sat for many minutes holding the envelope in my hands. I told myself there was no rush.

Then suddenly I was tearing it open.

I put aside my uncle’s letter and the other one or two additional photos he’d included, and then—there it was.

There it was.

A photo. A photo of the farm. The farmhouse. The hut.


Suddenly, I’m no longer a 60-year-old woman. I’m about five or six-years-old and my world is about to be turned upside down.

I’ve had another tantrum, screaming and kicking out and refusing to have anything to do with this harsh woman with the sarcastic tongue and rough hands who has lived in our house since my mother was made to go and live in that house, there, just up the road.

I’m rarely allowed to go and visit her. But if I fetch a chair, I can peer out my bedroom window and can watch her hanging washing out on the line or working in the garden.

My whole being feels her absence. There is a pain that never goes away or even eases and my rage at her having gone away is limitless.

My father’s torn, that much I know. I watch him struggling to pacify this woman who seems to hate me.

He tries to not pay me too much affection when she’s around, because it makes her sneer and say cruel things.

It is just like she sneers at me when I ask if I can be taken up the road to visit my mother.

She makes me feel that my love for my mother is wrong and somehow hurts her. That it isn’t allowed.

That’s why I have these tantrums and why my rage is so great.

Today, after I’ve had yet another tantrum, he takes me by the hand and walks me around to the hut on the farm.

The cross woman is shouting after us as we walk, taunting him with words I don’t yet understand.

Sometimes I worry it’s all too much for him. I seem to have a sense that his heart is breaking, I have that often, but I never know why.

We go in and he closes the door.

Suddenly, the world and its angry shouting is gone, and he’s pulling out a chair, lifting me onto his knee, and telling me that he has something important to tell me.

He says he should have told me before and that he is sorry that he hasn’t. He says it might have prevented a lot.

The tone of his voice is so serious and filled with much sadness. I’m gripped with the fear that he’s going to tell me that he’s going to die.

I’m used to loss, convinced by now that nothing good ever remains, that what he says next will come as no surprise to me.

I’m cold and shivering. My entire being feels like it is made up of only loss and longing.

And it is all somehow connected to the tantrums and the rage inside me.

But then he tells me, with infinite tenderness, a story that I couldn’t have imagined in a million years.

Holding me tightly against his chest, and with tears in his eyes, he tells me who I really am. And who the woman just up the road really is.

He tells me that she’s not my mother, but his. He tells me that she brought me up but isn’t my mother.

He says that my mother died six days after I was born and that it broke his heart.

He says that he’d always been afraid that something bad would happen.

My mind is going numb.

I feel as the cold reaches deeper and deeper into me. It is hard to hear his words as he describes how proud she was of me, that my second name was also her name and that she had loved me and named me.

He describes getting a phone call from the hospital saying he needed to come and how a cold fear had gripped him upon hearing those words. That he’d known it wasn’t normal.

I find myself hearing about that cold fear and wondering if it is the same as mine. My teeth are chattering now and even the warmth of his body is bringing no relief.

He’s telling one story, his story. But, I realize mine is different now from his.

My head is reeling from the catastrophic news that the woman who had loved me through babyhood and toddlerhood isn’t my mother.

She’s not my mother.

All I’ve thought and believed and held on to, that one bit of comfort and certainty, is now gone.

She’s not my mother.

She looked after me for him.

I no longer have a mother.

Everything I believed about my world has just disintegrated!

Suddenly I need to run. Just to run. I scramble off his knee and run for the fresh air.

It’s icy out there, but that doesn’t matter. It’s icy inside me too.

I run and run, across the yard, past the cattle pens, past the hay barn, through the gate and out into the fields.

I’m both numb and exploding with feeling, but I can’t reach it to find what that feeling is.

I want to explode into thousands of pieces. I want for this fear and grief and pain and hate and rage to break.

I can’t hold it or carry it any more. And suddenly, I’m sobbing so hard and deep I’m coughing and choking as I sob, almost unable to get my breath.

I long to go to this woman who was my mother and tell her. But I no longer know what to say.

And then, just as suddenly, I’m back in my bedroom, a woman of 60 feeling still like a little girl of five.

And so I wrote my life’s work in this story which was my beginning:

Through my early loss of key figures.

The breaking of trust.

The confusion of who it was okay to love and who it wasn’t.

The longing for what I couldn’t have even though it felt vital to my existence.

The experiences of being hated, yet never understanding why.

The desire to run whenever pain threatened.

As a powerful creator I had written it prior to incarnating, so that it could create the themes I’d work out in this lifetime:

To find my way back to remembering how to trust, be close without the fear of losing getting in the way, to overcome the rage at abandonment and betrayal, and to love and give without fear.

My beginnings, just as all of our beginnings do, set the scene and the plot which I was going to live out as my story this lifetime.

But that story is just that—a story.

And that is true for every single one of us in our own unique and sacred way.

We create the perfect conditions for our story, one that will provide us with powerful memories.

These then direct the themes that will play out as the dramas of this lifetime.

And when we really understand this truth, we can let go of the person we’ve believed ourselves to be.

And the people we’ve believed others to be, too.

And finally, we can stand in our own power as a magnificent being of light and love who  has created a powerful human experience in the service of the expansion of All That Is.

Oh, the applause, if you could only hear it!

What a journey! What an adventure!

How amazing are we!

@ Janny Juddly 2016

The Therapist in my Pocket


It may be that there’s the teeniest, tiniest tinge of frustration behind this title.

I’m throwing my hands up in the air as I write.

As a psychotherapist, energy worker and empath—one who’s served a long apprenticeship, learned the ropes, and is now teaching other empaths to do the same—I reckon that “The World” could do with a bit of a shaking up of all the assumptions it makes.

The world makes a lot of assumptions about those that it chooses—often with a bit of an eye roll and a barely disguised sneer—to call empaths.

See, we empaths never did choose that word, “The World” did—kind of like it used to call wise women with gifts of healing “witches” in years gone by.

Does that seem a preposterous comparison? Oh, but I’m deadly serious here. Don’t get my empath’s hackles up too much or I might just turn you into a frog!

The other day, I read a piece by someone who said they felt like throwing up every time they read the word “empath” in the title of any article. Wow, strong words. Strong reaction. Hey, I wonder, do we have another group of people being discriminated against here? A subtle undercover bit of scapegoating going on?

See, that’s how it starts, discrimination. We start to rubbish, to mock, to think it’s okay to diminish and ignore. To ridicule. To make a certain kind of person a figure of fun.

We stop listening. Instead, we put our hands over our ears and go blah blah blah. And, in that way that we unconsciously scapegoat those who are different to us, we then start to make assumptions instead. We stop being open to what they have to say.

Once you’ve made someone ridiculous, it’s a bit of a slippery slope after that.

So I’m here to try to right the balance a bit. I’m here to say to anyone who feels that way about those the world calls “empaths” that they’re missing the point.

And I want to tell you why.

As a psychotherapist, I can say without any shadow of a doubt that the one thing that we all need—yes, the ‘N’ word, “need”—is to be listened to and understood. For someone to really get what we’re feeling. Note: feeling. Those of us who are more comfortable living in our heads rather than our hearts don’t like the ‘N’ word very much. It makes us feel weak, vulnerable. And we don’t like vulnerable. We feel way more in control with “strong.”

But we do, of-course, secretly envy those who can let themselves actually be vulnerable. Scapegoating is always double-edged!

That, of course, is part of what we don’t like about empaths: they do feelings. Whoa, how scary is that! They make us face what we’re frightened of.

Those bits of us we don’t go near. Ever!

The other reason Empaths scare us is because they see stuff. They see into us and through us. You can’t pull the wool over an Empath’s eyes.

They know it straight away. Witches all over again, right?

Okay, okay, I know we can be irritating at times, and over-sensitive, some of us are unbearably self-pitying, even, before we learn the ropes. Sure, we have lots to work out and learn. Mostly, how to hold, contain and transmute low vibrational energy into that of a higher vibration.

And we can become amazingly, awesomely good at that!

I get fed up just as much as the next person when I read articles that tell empaths to stay away from people and take to their bed every time there’s a full moon! But these people aren’t empaths yet: they’re what I’d call “Identifiers.” They’re busy soaking everything up as if it belongs to them, when actually most of it belongs to everyone else!

But once we empaths have done the work, we’re unstoppable! Trust me! We’re utterly mind-blowing!

So bear with me just a while? Let me explain a few things that only empaths start out knowing. Things that would make the world a far easier place for us all to exist in if only everyone else could try learning them too.

Can I give it a go?

First, we know that this is an emotional Universe, one that feels. You can’t talk about a loving Universe in one breath, and then talk about a Universe that responds purely to thoughts. It’s a contradiction.

And if you don’t see why it’s a contradiction, that’s why the world needs empaths!

Let me say it again. This is an emotional Universe. A Universe which responds to the vibration of emotion. Emotion which emanates from our unconscious feelings and beliefs. Why else do you think we have ended up living in a reality where everyone’s busy trying hard to think and project the “right thoughts” yet we have managed to create a reality that reflects anything but!

Ever stop to think about that one? We’re so caught up in thoughts and thinking here if the West, busy rationalizing and intellectualizing everything, we tend to forget that important fact. Why is it that the planet doesn’t particularly reflect the positive thoughts and intentions that people reckon they’re putting out there?

I’ll tell you why: it’s because it isn’t about our thoughts. It’s about what we’re projecting out there that we’re often completely unaware of.

By the way, know who can help with that? Best of all?

The empath that the world reckons deserves to be ridiculed for being over-sensitive!

See, empaths pick up everyone else’s stuff. The stuff that everyone else is busy trying to deny and push away? Know where it gets pushed? Into empaths.


And then the world blames them for it. All the while, that empath is actually doing what everyone else could helpfully be taking responsibility for doing: tuning in properly to what’s really going on!

Starting to hear any of this yet? Let’s push on.

Let’s consider a bit further what the world could learn from empaths if it could get past its iron-clad defences against feelings.

The world could try to do what empaths have no choice about:

1) It could start understanding that to be fully conscious is to feel, not just think.

2) It could start taking responsibility for working through its own feelings instead of making empaths carry them.

3) It could start living more in the Heart instead of in the Head.

4) It could re-instate empaths as being worthy of respect and appreciation—after all, they’ve carried the world’s disavowed mess for a long time.

5) It could learn how to be mindful and aware, open and emotionally intelligent.

And if only the world would start taking its personal responsibility more seriously, it might free up empaths to do what they’re really good at!

How does that sound? How about we all give it a go?

Who knows…it could even make the world a better place!


@ Janny Juddly 2017

The Therapist in my Pocket


“Dear Therapist in my Pocket, can I please ask you something? I’m so desperate!”

The message pinged into my inbox as I sat with my morning cuppa, having just opened my computer ready to start writing.

“Sure, go ahead!” I typed back.

“I don’t know how to love myself! I hate me! I loathe me! Please, please, please, can you teach me how to love myself?”

I set my cup down and felt the full impact of those words. The pain. The desperation. The fear. The need. I sat with that for a good few minutes, letting the enormity of this young woman’s confusion sweep right through me, finding all the bits of me that have also known this place once. Long ago now, but I can still remember.

Then I put the kettle back on and made a pot of tea as I tried to come up with what might help, be a starting point. Something.

I sat back down at the computer to reply. I want to share that reply, in case it might help anyone else who also knows this place. Here’s what I wrote:

“Dear Child of the Universe,

Yes, that’s what you are. I know that’s going to feel a bit weird, a bit crazy. But it’s where we have to start. Hang on in there with me. Just hear me out. I promise I’ll get to your question. This is the best way I know to answer it.

I want to tell you why you’re here, and who you really are.

You are a child of the Universe, just as I am, too. You’re not alone here. The energy that is you is the same energy that is me. I am you and you are me, and so everything you have known, I have known too. Everything I know, you also know. Since the beginning we have been, and we always will be. In Love and Oneness. We are the Universe become human.

When you dig deep, it’s all there. You’ve just forgotten. Just as you were meant to forget. Just as you agreed to forget, just for a little while. But now you’re ready to remember. And you’ve shown up, just as I’ve shown up, just as we planned and agreed, before we incarnated here, in order for you to do just that.

What a time that was, how eager and excited we were, you and I, each busy planning how the adventure of this lifetime would go! In that place we all beat in time to the One Heart, held in the beautiful knowing of its tender embrace.

If you let go a little, fade out of the wanting into the stillness beyond, you can still find that place. It’s in the space between your thoughts. Always there!

And we planned this moment, you and I. Do you remember? The threads that were to be your life and my life would intertwine in this briefest of moments, this gentlest touching of souls, so that we would bless each other and be forever changed.

I am you, remember, just as you are me. Together with all that is, we are the creator of worlds, incarnated here in this time/space reality, in order to expand still further the depth and breadth of compassion and unconditional love of the Universe which is breathing us and which is living every moment in and with and through us.

Just think of that, just stay with that for an instant.

Here you are, a magnificent being of light and love and unimaginable power, a vital and unique part of the web of light and love that holds the very fabric of the Universe together, incarnated here to gift us with a journey that you—and only you—can make. This adventure is uniquely yours, Dear Child of the Universe, and you are walking your path so perfectly. You are doing everything you came here to do, in exactly the way you came here to do it. Nothing is going wrong, nor can it ever.

Let me tell you exactly how the Universe that you are, and that I am also, expands in compassion and unconditional love. It is through experiencing contrast.

How can we grow in love unless we have known what it is to feel the suffering that is hate, to struggle through shame, to feel the awful pain of jealousy? And, by growing through them, finding a place of understanding and forgiveness? How else does a loving Universe expand?

And so, only the bravest of us come for the adventure and the gift, Dear Child of the Universe. Only the strongest, the oldest souls, do what you are doing. And what I am doing also. Before we come, while we still know who we really are, and are planning what this adventure will entail, our motive is Love. We come for Love. And for the fun of it. For there is oh-so-much fun to be had too! So much laughter and companionship along the way. We just have to find our Tribe and it will be there.

So we pack our suitcase, jump into the birth canal, and here we are!

And, after a few weeks to acclimatise, we experience the onset of amnesia. We forget everything. We no longer know who we are, or why we came. We become fully human, but never cease to be Divine. And all the while, with every step we take, every breath we breathe, we are surrounded by more light and love, help and support, guidance and encouragement than we can begin to imagine from this place of forgetting.

By the way, we never make this journey alone. We’re cheered on at every turn, and we are constantly receiving signs of love and guidance if we have our eyes open and will only look. It’s in that place of stillness between our thoughts, and in the synchronicities that are always happening. It’s constant!

And when our journey is done, we go back home. To so much love and tender care, excited welcome and congratulations, so much appreciation and gratitude for the amazing gift we have given, the lessons we have shared, the expansion in compassion and unconditional love that has happened as the direct result of this lifetime we have lived.

And so, let’s go back to your question, Precious Child of The Universe. And how to love yourself. Well, I would suggest there are maybe two ‘”hows’” to that:

The first is, remember who you really are. Not who you seem to be, from this human perspective, but who you really are: a magnificent and all powerful incarnation here to become perfectly imperfect for a while. A Child of The Universe.

The second is, forgive yourself for forgetting. We beat ourselves up so much for forgetting, for our humanness, for the things we believe we’ve got wrong, the mistakes we think we’ve made. And all the while, what we’ve actually been doing is walking our path, faithfully and bravely, exactly as we’d agreed. We’ve been busy living the contrast we agreed we’d live. How amazing are we?

And so, Dear Child of the Universe, since you are the Universe living and loving and breathing, and since the Universe is unconditional love forever expanding, what’s not to love? In truth, you can’t not love, because you are love. And if you feel loveless, or unworthy of love, just try reminding yourself of who you really are, and go that extra mile and forgive yourself for forgetting.

After all, we all think you are utterly amazing! And we think you’re doing an incredible job! Perfect, in fact!

Truth be told, we’re all watching in awe!

@ Janny Juddly 2017

The Therapist in my Pocket


I knew I had to get away.

One too many nights of my then-husband coming home drunk. One too many episodes of bi-polar manic aggression. One too many days of trying to get out the Crisis Team as he threatened to kill himself. One too many conversations asking for help from his naïve family in whose eyes he could do no wrong, and who thought that I should just keep on loving him no matter what.

And so, about 15 years ago, I took a week out. I knew that if I didn’t, I was in very real danger of breaking.

I’d woken out of sleep sobbing—the kind of sobbing where part of you looks on, listening and watching in horror as the other part of you gradually realizes that those sobs are beyond you to stop. The kind of sobbing that tells you you’re so close to the edge that you really could fall off it. Or even jump, just for the relief it would bring.

I was too full of feeling, too full of pain. And it wasn’t even mine.

One too many of just too much. That moment when you know, with crystal clarity, that you can’t do this anymore. When self-love wins out over any sense of guilt or failure to love enough. The moment you realize you’re holding your breath, waiting to make a decision your whole being—the universe itself—is urging you to make.

And so, finally, I took a week out.

I needed peace and silence, nature and stillness, and so I chose a cozy hotel in the heart of the countryside that accepted pets, packed a small bag and my two springer spaniels, and set out on a journey to healing.

What happened there changed my path, and the course of my life.

I experienced something so extraordinary that it has stayed with me, and profoundly influenced my understanding of pain and healing, ever since.

My days settled into a rhythm of sorts. I’d get up early, take the dogs for a walk in the woods or by the lake, then go down to breakfast. That done, I’d go out again with the dogs and walk and walk, sit awhile, walk some more. I was out from dawn until after dusk, when I’d go back for my evening meal. The emotions running through me, the fears gripping me, the grief and confusion I felt, were burning me up, and try as I might, I could find only short-lived periods of respite before it would all start again.

Then, slowly, I became aware that there was one place where, just for a while, I started to taste the quality of stillness I’d been longing to find. It was always in the dining room, during breakfast and dinner. It was the strangest thing. It seemed to happen inside me.

What I felt was a sensation I’ve tried many times to adequately describe, and I still haven’t gotten it right. The nearest I can get is to call it a tender hug around my heart. A soothing calm that started in my abdomen and would gradually flow out from there into every part of me, and as it spread its warmth through me, I would know with absolute certainty that everything would be okay. All fear would disappear, to be replaced by a deep sense of safety and well-being; the unbearable confusion would dissipate, and I would that find I could think. It was like balm poured over sore wounds—a sense of being held so completely that I wondered how I could ever have doubted that I could survive this.

By the end of the week, I knew what I was going to do, how I was going to do it and that I was going to be able to cope with all it would bring. I felt wonderfully whole. The word I want to use is, “healed.”

On the final morning, as I was finishing breakfast before getting ready to leave, an elderly woman approached my table and sat down. I’d been aware of her presence in the dining room throughout the week. We’d exchanged brief glances of greeting and recognition most days, but we’d never spoken. Yet I had the strangest sense that she somehow knew me, and that I knew her. I felt her warmth, her care and concern. Her eyes held mine with a steadiness that made me feel safe, known.

Safe and known. That feeling. The tender hug around my heart. Suddenly, I got there, just as she covered my hand with hers.

“Are you feeling better now?” Her voice was quiet and unbelievably gentle. Oh, the knowing in it, as her hand squeezed mine.

“But how did you know?” I asked her.

“I just did,” she replied. “I felt all your pain, all your sadness. I’ve been sending you love and healing all week. I hope it’s made a difference.”

I shared with her all I’d experienced in her presence and just what a difference it had made. I wanted her to have the feedback, to know just what she’d done, how amazing she was. But she stopped me. She would have none of it.

“I’ve done little more than keep you company,” she insisted. “One human being keeping a fellow human being company for a while, till they remember who they are once more. You’d lost yourself, and now you have you back again. I did nothing more than hold the space for you in the meantime.” Then she added, “And the love.”

And yes, she’d done that, and more. This woman had restored me, intentionally or unintentionally, knowingly or not, energetically to a state of well-being and steadiness, yes. But more than this, she had empowered me with her own still, loving, accepting presence, holding space for me in order for me to find my own essence once more.

The gift of presence is the most beautiful and remarkable gift that one soul can offer to another.

Sacred space, immovable trust in another’s ability to find themselves again if only we will patiently and lovingly keep them company. A friend of mine, a Quaker, talks about, “holding another in the light.” She’s done that many times for me, and I’ve always felt and known it, before she even told me.

So what is it, this amazing gift we give each other? How come we feel it so profoundly—not just across a room but even from many miles away?

I believe it to be the gift of our true essence, a holding of another within the highest vibration any of us can attain: love. I believe that this is the energy that not only flows through us at those times, but also that which we all are when we come home to ourselves. The energy we are when we go beyond, into the stillness of who we are where nothing divides us, because we know—with the most profound knowing—that we are all one and the same.

Ram Dass spoke a most beautiful truth when he said, “We are all just walking each other home.”

I believe the gift of presence is how we do that. And that has to be the most precious gift any of us can give: the tenderest reminder, in a moment of deep human pain, of who we all really are.


@ Janny Juddly 2016

The Therapist in my Pocket


I want to tell you a fairy tale—for grown-ups.

If the idea of a fairy tale makes you want to stop reading and walk away, then you need this more than you know!

It’s about a grown up who’s forgotten how to be a child:

Molly grew up learning how to be good. She learned to be kind and patient and to think about everyone else, and everyone loved her for it.

But once she was grown up, Molly realized that although she knew how to be good, she didn’t know how to be happy.

A friend suggested to Molly that she read some self-help books, and so she went out and bought some. The books told her to write loving letters to herself, and to look at herself in the mirror and tell herself that she was beautiful.

Molly tried hard to do this.

However, every time she sat down to write herself a loving letter, she could not think of what there was to love. Every time she looked into her eyes in the mirror, and tried to say aloud the words the books suggested, the words felt hollow, ridiculous, like they were meant for someone else.

Someone more worthy. More lovable.

One day, Molly found herself walking through a forest. It was a path she had never come across before. In fact, she’d no idea how she got there. She had just closed her eyes, found herself listening to herself breathing and becoming very still. And that had brought her here.

As she walked along the mossy path through the trees, she noticed a Wise Woman. The woman was just sitting there, looking at her—almost expectantly. She decided there was nothing to lose. And so she went towards the Wise Woman.

As she came closer, she could feel a strange energy, tingling through her body. In an inexplicable way, she knew it was an energy that she and the Wise Woman shared. She knew they were meant to meet here.

The Wise Woman looked at her and waited for her to speak.

“I want to find happiness,’”Molly said, “I don’t know what to do to be happy.”

The Wise Woman said a strange thing, “My child, what do you need?”

Molly was puzzled, and felt a bit cross.

Firstly, the Wise Woman had called her a child. And she was not a child. She was a grown up. Could the Wise Woman not see that?

Also, the Wise Woman had asked her what she needed! How useless was that! Didn’t she realize that she’d come here to understand what to do, not to be asked what she needed?

The Wise Woman saw her reaction, and just smiled. And waited. Molly realized that she was being invited to say something. So she thought hard, and then she said, “I need to stop needing so much.”

The Wise Woman considered, head on one side for several moments.

Then she asked, “What is it that you need, my child, that you feel is too much?”

Molly felt stupid, like she was being criticized, got at.

Why did the Wise Woman keep asking the same question? 

Then something clicked. She gasped. She looked at the Wise Woman, and into her kindly, knowing eyes. The Wise Woman smiled and nodded. And waited.

Molly saw a depth of knowing in those eyes. Somehow, they gave her courage. She took a deep breath, and began:

“I need to be loved,” she said, almost in a whisper.

She looked at the Wise Woman for approval, but the Wise Woman just smiled, met her gaze, and waited.

‘” need to be listened to…and heard.”

Again—the waiting, and the encouraging smile.

Suddenly, she knew she could say it all. All of it. All the needing and the wanting, the longings she had kept in for so long:

‘”I need to say what I’m feeling. I need to be allowed to feel what I feel. I need to not feel guilty, or ashamed, or bad. I need to know I’m okay. Just as I am. I need to love me!’”

The words were starting to tumble out now. ‘

“I need to laugh out loud, to be noisy,to enjoy myself, to say yes, to say no—to choose.”

The Wise Woman still met her eyes.

Molly stopped and felt the connection. It was so profound it took her breath away.

Then she spoke, very quietly, almost lovingly. The compassion in her voice was so soothing, such a relief, like balm on a sore wound.

“My child, you have always needed to do those things. They were always yours. To experience them was the reason you came. But you had forgotten, and now you have remembered.”

‘When we fall into a place of forgetting, we forget our joy, our power, our magnificence, our freedom. And in its place, we learn shame. You have learned to feel ashamed for being you, my child.

You must forgive yourself.’” 

Molly thought and thought, but could not understand.

“I don’t understand,” she said.

The Wise Woman nodded. It was clear that she did not need any further explanation that she knew what Molly meant.

“When we forget who we are, and why we came here, we start to believe we have got things badly wrong, have done things that make us bad. We feel terrible shame. We stop being able to be ourselves, still less to love ourselves. Instead, there is only shame.

You have to forgive yourself for forgetting, my child. For allowing shame to take over. For hating and despising yourself.”

Molly thought about the Wise Woman’s words. At first, they sounded extreme but, the more she pondered, the more she noticed a growing sense inside her that said the words were true.

“What must I do?” she asked

“What would you like to do?” the Wise Woman asked her.

Softly. Like she, too, was holding her breath.

Slowly, meaningfully, Molly stood up. “I would like to laugh, and shout, and dance, and run and splash in puddles! I want to say it like it is—no more pretending, I want to choose, to change, to be free—to be me!”

She was shouting now. And grinning. And laughing. Arms wide, head thrown back.

Suddenly, she became aware that the Wise Woman was no longer there. She felt bereft, as if a part of her was missing.

“Where are you?” she cried out, “Don’t leave me now. Not now. I’ve only just begun to know you.”

From somewhere, she couldn’t tell if it was inside or outside of her, she felt a voice. As it spoke, it seemed to vibrate all through her. The air around her sparkled and shimmered.

“You haven’t lost me, my child. You can never lose me, nor I you. We are forever one, always were, always will be. You need only listen, and you will remember.”

Then she heard a peal of laughter—bright, effervescent, full and joyous. It was like a thousand bells tinkling. The air was full. Full of what, Molly could not tell, but somehow she felt a remembering stir in her.

“But for now, beloved child of mine, you need to go and jump in some puddles!”

So she did!

Happy adventures!


@ Janny Juddly 2015

The Therapist in my Pocket