Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Primal Enigma Machine*.

As I have said before, I, sometimes, interpret your texts, like when the devil reads the Bible. So when you are saying: “and here lies the enigma” (More on the Meaning of the Act-Out), I read it as “in this aspect the enigma is lying/misleading”. 

The perplexity when love has failed to fulfil my needs and has become painful has caused me a lot of doubts over decades. My interpretation of the impact of love has been somewhat restricted. Your message about the importance of love I have, intellectually, interpreted too literally, although, I within me had reasons to hesitate.

My mother caused me a traumatic birth, which eventually led to epilepsy and a neurotic life pattern. She breastfed me for more than two years, and transmitted, in her modest way, love to me as long as she lived. Her love solidified my neuroses and my hyperactivity, which among other things led to my relationship with my father never developed into more than an unemotional, practical and administrative ritual.

Thanks (!) to that my birth trauma developed into epilepsy, I was able to find my way to The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse. I did it with the help of Carbamazepine / Tegretol and the ability, of a neurotic act out, to win the confidence of the surroundings. After 40 years of trial and error, I have begun to understand the enigma / perplexity. Closeness and love was always too much to my encapsulated birth trauma. “The ugly head” of the trauma, the epilepsy, showed up at, among other things, too much touch and love and I escaped both figuratively and literally, when my leaky gates and my hyperactivity became too difficult to control. Several of my female relationships told me sad and irritated that I was afraid of closeness, which each time filled me with painful feelings of inadequacy that threatened my inner control.

I have often, in my environment, seen and experienced cases with similarities of my own enigma / perplexity. In these cases, a child, with repressed pain, developed into an abuser in the relationship with a parent, who, unaware of his / her own repressed pain and unfulfilled needs, easily give in to pressure of neurotic character.

An encapsulated and repressed birth trauma, propelling distorting neuroses, can with too much love be provoked to leak pain, as well as hyperventilation can cause the chemical imbalance and produce dizziness, blurred vision, muscle spasm and until unconsciousness. If all our needs from conception are satisfied, love, to a healthy mind and body, is as important as oxygen.

Jan Johnsson

*Alluding to the military enigma machine used by cryptologists to deciphering secret messages.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Life-long Strangelhold.

During the last 40 years (calculated from the reading of The Primal Scream), I have learned to understand the principles and the process to re-live my birth-trauma. That way, I have been able to understand my weakness in emotional contacts, in my relationships and in my childhood, and how my neurotic life pattern was developed. This, eventually, led to a demystification of my epilepsy. In summary, my epilepsy can be described as a compressed short circuit / reaction to my organism’s 48 hour traumatic struggle for survival after the amniotic fluid was gone, to come out of the womb. The horrific struggle had many, for a fetus unbearable, complex events such as squeezing, choking, anesthetics in different forms, turning the fetus and strangling by the umbilical cord when being pulled out. Just recently it’s been 34 years from my first experience of how a normally short, however, shattering grand mal seizure developed / turned into a 1-2 hour long, integrating birth primal.

Having, during three intensive periods (10-15 years apart), re-lived most of the encapsulated pain from my birth trauma, my life has become pretty “normal”. My life pattern, although influenced by my history, has been liberated from the filter of neurotic actions that were previously necessary to reduce the leaking pain I, for most of my life, have been distorted by. A unique, but not totally illogical effect of my liberation from inhibitions and repressed pain, has been my initiative to connect with my teenage love Eva. Our contact ended when I, at age 19, developed epilepsy and was chemically lobotomized.

The resumption of our contact, after 53 years, has been and is a unique restoration of the friendship between two soul mates. The Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse is the catalyst of that success. We have been able to let 53 years pass in review as a script under constant development. An infinite number of undeveloped and / or hidden scenarios well up out of our, increasingly less constricted, minds. This happens in spite (or perhaps it is thanks to?) there being complications in both of us that require solutions and changes. Eva e.g. had a long, and for traditional values, very success-filled academic career as faculty manager and board member at a prestigious university. These successes were achieved at the price of an emotionally impoverished life. “Free painkillers” such as coffee, sugar, cigarettes and workaholism held an emotionally disturbed childhood, with a bipolar mother, at bay. The pain propelled neuroses overloaded her organs and represented the price for academic success. The symptoms for Eva’s success; hyperthyroidism, hypertension and diabetes culminated 6-7 years ago in a burnout and stroke without other visible symptoms than a corrupted working memory and depression.

Over two, years, I have guided Eva into new habits. Through diet, physical exercises and Rolfing, Eva has made great progress and has been able to eliminate significant portions of her medical treatment and regained a functioning working memory. Eva’s long-term memory and her intellectual and emotional abilities are set in relation to her deep repression, surprisingly intact from our youth. Eva has a deep-set, natural drive to free herself from her inhibitions, and she makes daily small steps forward in her fight to pull herself from these neuroses that have kept her away / filtered from her true feelings. Eva has embarked on a stimulating and exciting, but, long and difficult journey of no return.

After an attempt by Eva, in writing, to describe a traumatic family situation that I received by email and read last night, I was hit by a strange empty feeling of hopelessness. Eva had “scientifically”, objectively, described the trauma over 2 A4 pages and only peripherally touched on the feelings that she had not wanted or been able to feel. I went to bed with Eva’s repressed, undescribed, emotions. At 3 o’clock in the morning, I woke up deep in the middle of a birth primal. At first I was painfully numb in my head, arms and legs, which meant feelings which I have experienced many times before. More unique feelings followed that I was dehydrated and chapped in the mouth, tongue and throat. After violent twitching of the legs and the body, I was ripped out backwards with the umbilical cord in a stranglehold around the neck. Indescribable gurgling sounds welled up from my chest, and I could keep myself conscious throughout the process.

Out of the hopeless feeling when I went to bed, something extraordinarily positive had emerged, and I had been through another liberating, wordless re-experience of my birth trauma!  “My Primal Journey will not end. There is no way, the way turns into reality while I travel. It is the journey that is the labour’s worth, not the goal of the path.”

Jan Johnsson

In motion

The sated day is never first.
The best day is a day of thirst.

Yes, there is a goal and mening in our path -
but it’s the way that is the labour’s worth.

The best goal is a night-long rest,
fire lit, and bread broken in haste.

In places where one sleeps but once,
sleep is secure, dreams full of songs.

Strike camp, strike camp! The new day shows its light.
Our great adventure has no end in sight.

Karin Boye (1927)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

An Invaluable Primal Dialogue.

An Invaluable Primal Dialogue.

The Primal Principle (Evolution in Reverse) and the process of re-living repressed pain are, unfortunately, still so unique, unknown and in some circles discredited that, basically, there is only one source, with whom to keep an undoubted dialogue; Art Janov. In the Reflection “Does Plenty of Infancy and Childhood Love Undo Early Trauma?”, Art mentions his own experiences from childhood and adolescence and the importance of loving experiences. This form av reflective dialogue lights up my world and associates emotions and memories that further enhance the image of the Primal Principle.

Although both the traumas and their outcomes may vary, the principle behind is the same. Non-perceived pain, i.e. for a fetus unbearable pain, which has been encapsulated, distorts our reality in many respects. The pain lives on, repressed, a whole life and propeles us to neurotic, superficial successes and to over-taxing our organs leading to strokes, heart attacks, ulcers etc.

My life has consisted of 73 years dependent on my birth trauma. The last 35 years have been an improvised “tango dance” in Evolution in Reverse to eliminate the accumulated pain and to dissolve the protective but at the same time degrading and backbreaking neuroses. Gradually I have understood my life-pattern, and eventually I could change my life and behavior better to suit my real needs.

After a traumatic birth, both for me and for my mother, I had three years alone as my parents’ beloved prince until I was dethroned by my first sister. Parallel to that I developed a pain-driven hyperactivity my father became increasingly sensitive and nervous. He did not lack emotional traits but, he was eventually unable to demonstrate it. He was marked by a difficult childhood (his mother and two siblings died of the Spanish flu during the second decade of the last century). Our emotional relationship became with the years more and more disturbed; however, he was always on hand when I practically needed him. He could not cope with my hyperactivity, but he let me largely keep on with annoying pranks and constant absence from home. My mother was not very emotional, but, during a lifetime, I felt her unconditional sympathy and love.

I was always fortunate, from a very early age, outside my home to meet people who liked me and helped me, which temporarily relieved / stunned my pain. The same thing happened up through my career. I formed teams / collaborated with executives of both male and female background until my life pattern pushed me on. (A company boss supported e.g. my years in LA). My relationships and marriages followed the same pattern.

Unlimited love was not enough to eliminate my pain. I managed temporarily to keep it down and use it to propel energy for some time. For a project, a marriage, a new culture / language, etc. Looking back in my life, I have many scars of love that I had not managed to receive before the pain started to leak and I became epileptic suicidal. Neurotically engaging projects were together with Carbamazepine / Tegretol my main painkillers. I have been on a long term escape from my birth trauma, and solely love was not able to cure the pain that my mother’s religious idea, “to give birth in pain”, created.

Slowly over 40 years, Art Janov and his psychotherapeutic, Primal Principles have, aided by Ida Rolf’s liberating physiotherapy principles, made me re-live my birth trauma and discharge the pain that my body and mind were trying to limit with neurotic filters and tricks in a seemingly unreasonable proportion.

I am convinced of unconditional love from the moment of conception, but accidents, follies, etc. can create situations in which love becomes painful. The fact that I with natural methods have been able to take me out of such a trauma and understand my destiny, it is neither more nor less than a miracle. That I, moreover, after 53 years have been reunited with my childhood love will, eventually, be the subject of a separate documenting in the history of Primal Therapy.

It has been an amazing journey through life, epilepsy and pain. I hope that those I left sad and confused along the way will understand and forgive me. I saw and had no choice if I wanted to survive.

Jan Johnsson

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A new Reference-frame of life

Art-destruction (and Art Janov) created my new reference-frame of life.

After a horrific birth trauma which almost cost me my life, I was born with a voluminous, engraved repressed pain. My unconscious pain was, during my youth, predominantly expressed in the form of hyperactivity, physical and mental. Later, when after excessive energy efforts my leaky gates to my pain were left unprotected, I would for a short period of time be depressed, which ended in suicidal thoughts. This short (2-3 days) suicidal state was always followed, by my decision, to give me another chance. I was soon on my way into a new hyperactivity period of 3 - 5 years. (This ongoing life pattern turned later during Primal Therapy into birth primals when I re-lived my fight for life and death to get out and by being strangled by the umbilical cord.)

During my hyperactivity, I developed a collection of neuroses / unreal needs in order to be accepted, get attention and be loved. Some of these neurotic behaviors showed in the form of crazy ideas. An example is when I, guided by ignorant and insensitive parents, was told that I, being the first born of 4 siblings, always ought to know best and be responsible. I interpreted this message my own way and thought that I was stupid and cheated when I was reading homework during my time in junior-secondary school. These neuroses increased my often humiliating activity to capture knowledge and achieve a lower school certificate without opening the books. This neurotic madness along with social neuroses caused me to avoid secondary studies during adolescence. Only when I, at 19 of age, developed epilepsy and became medically lobotomised I managed, with several years delay, to repair my lack of studies, to graduate and pursue a career, my hyperactivity-neuroses turned to a commercial career.

In spite of a full time job, advanced evening studies, a relation that led to marriage and two children, I needed a lot of physical exercises and sex to  consume all the pain-propelled energy that was pouring out of me. I rarely slept 5 hours a night. My career was dead straight, and I was seen early to have a unique ability to judge external factors, business and staff assessment. However, I had a poor understanding of myself, though, literally, I could feel my prison of pain. It was my epilepsy, which constantly kept me aware of the existence of my pain. It would take 40 years to bit by bit re-live most of my engraved pain and to dissolve the neurotic, survival-filters between my cortex and the other two brain systems in the triune brain. When the filter dissolved I saw the same world as before, but now motivated by different, more real needs. A new way of living, a new way of valuing events and actions and a new set of attitudes, own and others, which I had to show and to accept.

Sometimes, when I, nowadays, talk with someone, I can for a fraction of a second feel tempted, by residues of my old habit, to give a neurotic response. However, now my answer instinctively matches my real needs even if it may put me in a less favorable position. It is pleasant to have been freed from the humiliating needs for political, tactical and prestige-related short-term games l often felt pain-propelled into.

Very often paradigm changes take more than politicians, scientists and psychologists can handle out from their locked in positions. We need sometimes, figuratively, to destroy a lifestyle which has run into a dead end and then we need a Raphael Ortiz and an Yoko Ono to show us the way and if we are lucky an Art Janov will appear and create a new frame of reference. Maybe a new paradigm.

Jan Johnsson

Raphael Ortiz and Yoko Ono closing, in Oct., 2013, the circle from a Destruction Art Symposion1966. (When The Primal Therapy was born...)

“The world is your mirror and your mind is a magnet. What you perceive in this world is largely a reflection of your own attitudes and beliefs.” M. LeBeuf

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fire Watch

Fire Watch

The other day Art Janov, in an article (What is Primal Therapy?), used an interesting metaphor when he told us that his hair “caught fire”. This had happened due to the fact that a number of unnamed psycho-therapists in an unauthorized manner borrows the term “Primal” to deceive patients to their version of therapy.

The fire in Art’s hair sparked memories in my bald (which ought to make it fireproof) head. When I, 1971, for the first time read The Primal Scream in Danish, a, then, unconscious, pain-propelled neurosis guided me. The pain behind my neurosis proved one day to be my mothers pride over my siblings curly hair and her sorrow over my straggling hair growth. I became neurotically obsessed with Art’s hair (on the book cover), which now, 42 years later, “caught fire”.

In the Primal Scream, Art Janov explains how the invention of the Primal Principle was born. One of his patients had been to a different show during the 1960ies in NY with the renowned avant-garde artist Raphael Ortiz (incidentally a colleague of Yoko Ono) who experimented, with the audience, to find out more about the unconscious mind. The patient’s experience led to that Art Janov guided him to undergo the first emotional experience with the label “Primal”. The rest is history and the line of “prisoners of pain” from all over the world, which, more or less successfully have made a pilgrimage to LA to get free from their pain, is long.

The development has not stood still during the 47 years that The Primal Therapy has existed, but it has, on the other hand, neither meant that a secure universal psycho-therapeutic Primal method has been developed outside the domains of Art Janov if even there! Why? Why are there so many who want to help their patients with the miracle sign Primal?

Many therapists are apparently somewhat aware, however, not consciously, of the curative potential to re-live imprinted / traumatic pain. The Primal Therapy places enormous demands on both those who want to be therapists and those who want to be patients. It takes a long time to learn to become a patient. For those who want to become a skilled guide / therapist, they must themselves have made the journey as a patient; otherwise they will never understand that the patient is the one who is in charge and determining and that the therapist can only be a guide.

Personally, I made my journey in three stages of development - 10-15 year intervals - which has covered most of a lifetime. Art Janov’s guidance, his narrated patient experiences and my unconventional therapy experiments with my physique and my diet has been my indispensable guiding principles. Not to forget, I have been fortunate and selfish enough to acquire and allocate the material resources, of substantial size, which has been required.

Regardless of my own positive experiences, when I de-mystified my epilepsy by re-living my birth trauma and saw degrading neurotic behavior being dissolved, it is an experience that, during the past 2 years, has meant most to my understanding of the Primal Principle / Evolution in Reverse. Using my experience over 40 years, I have been able to guide a friend from childhood to  get out of a deep depression caused by a stroke and burn out after a long academic career. Her joy and enthusiasm can be compared to the experience I had during the years when I, when necessary, have been patiently guided by Art Janovs ingenious intuition. A practical, non-scientific, confirmation of the Primal Principle.

Together and separately we have made an emotional, interdisciplinary therapeutic journey, that has taken us from cognitive awareness to a truer consciousness.

Jan Johnsson