Today, please welcome, Stephanie Riseley, author of Love from Both Sides: A True Story of Soul Survival and Sacred Sexuality, as she talks about her latest book and her experiences and background as a hypnotherapist.
Be sure to post a comment or question for Stephanie for a chance to win a copy of her book! (posts must be made by 12 midnight, June 3)
Stephanie Riseley is a writer, teacher, and hypnotherapist. Her book, Love From Both Sides: A True Story of Soul Survival and Sacred Sexuality, tells the story of her husband dying in her arms and coming back to chat.
Besides being a writer, Stephanie has studied hypnosis since 1971. Over the years, she’s helped hundreds of people get healthy, quit smoking, and make empowering lifestyle changes. Because she’s also a teacher, she explains how our computer-like brains work and then teaches her clients a skill-set that helps them to re-program their own brains. It’s like fixing a glitch in the wiring, or like ridding a computer of a pesky internet virus.
Scientific research proves that once people change their thinking, they actually change the physical structure of their brains. Because of that, they’re freed of self-destructive behaviors that ruin lives and steal happiness.
To do this, Stephanie uses hypnosis, along with techniques from Cognitive Behavorial Modification and Guided Interactive Therapy.
Find out more about Stephanie, by visiting her website: http://www.stephanieriseley.com/
Interview by Mary Jo Campbell:
- In your book, Love from Both Sides – a True Story of Soul Survival and Sacred Sexuality, you tell the story of your husband dying in your arms and coming back to you. What exactly happened?
What happened became the first paragraph of “Love From Both Sides,” and here it is:
I had my hand on my husband’s heart when it stopped beating. To feel his big, strong heart come to a complete and utter stop under my hand was so shocking, I didn’t have time to even think or react. Because just as his heart stopped, I felt “him” whoosh through me like a wind, and then from behind I heard, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last!” What? Had Dan become Martin Luther King? I turned to look behind me. Was he on the ceiling? No? Where then? What? Free? Free! Free of me? Of our life?
This is not what you want to hear after you’ve just spent six manic, exhausting months doing everything possible to save a man. I turned back to look at the face I loved. The man that I’d married just twelve years before – the love of my life – the man I’d waited for so long to come. That man. The man who asked me to marry him on the fourth date, the man who worshiped my body when he made love to me – the man who could make me scream. The man whose soul I thought I knew so well. The man I fought with, the man I hated sometimes, the man who hated me. The man whose smell I couldn’t get enough of? That man? And the asshole died? He died! How could that be? He’d leave me? I wanted to scream, “No! Don’t go! Come back!” But all I could do was whisper, “No, no, no. Please, no.”
Now, the question a writer might ask is how did I decide exactly where to begin to tell that story? Because the book tells the story of two soul mates who finally found each other (after many misses and 20 years!) and it also tells the story of a very problematic marriage, I chose to begin at the most dramatic place I could think of – my husband dying in my arms.
If you want to read the first four chapters online, here’s the link: http://sriseley.findhornpress.com/
2. How did you know that you weren’t just imagining things?
I wasn’t alone in that room. The book continues:
Samuel, my straight-arrow, twenty-eight-year-old stepson, who stood stock still next to the bed there in the Intensive Care Unit at Kaiser, would say later that Dan, my husband, had whipped into him and said, “Sam! Sam! I know it looks like I’m dead, but it’s okay! It’s really okay. I mean, I’m dead, but it’s all right.”
And Sam continued to hear from his father for months afterward. I, on the other hand, couldn’t hear anything at all except my own muddled, miserable inner monologue until I just got angry at being so unhappy, and consequently changed energetic “frequencies,” and then Dan was able to connect.
Sam could “hear” his father, but only vaguely. He said, “I know what Dad’s saying, but I can’t actually hear words — I have to supply the words.” I, on the other hand, could hear the actual words – and ultimately I was able to channel them, so Sam and I would compare notes.
I feel what makes “Love From Both Sides,” fascinating is looking at the interrelationship that all three of us share, because if Dan had met me earlier, in 1970 for instance, when we were “destined” to meet, Sam would have been my son. Ladies? And if you think your husband is stubborn? ; ^) Read what happens when “stubborn” hijacks happiness.
3. For you and Dan, how long did you continue to have this intense connection from the other side?
Our connection lasted almost a full year, and that’s the time period the book covers – the year of channeling. Figuring out how to tell the story seems self-evident in retrospect, but until I just decided to use my screenwriting skills, and tell it chronologically – as if it were a movie – it stumped me completely. But as writers reading the book, you’ll appreciate my own nuttiness with the process!
3.a. Why did it end?
The channeling ended because I had to let Dan go completely, so that I could reclaim my own life. And to do that, I literally had to take his ashes back to France to where we had had a life together as nuns in the Middle Ages. This life together had been a “pay back” life, i.e., an opportunity to love as male and female. As Dan would say, we come in a lot together, but usually as friends – male friends.
4. At the beginning of your book, you say that you started out to write a book called, “The Married Girls Guide to Hot and Sacred Sex.” What happened to that book?
The impetus for writing “The Married Girls Guide to Hot and Sacred Sex,” happened when I realized how many of my girlfriends were in relationships where sex had been relegated to a back burner, and because of that, their marriages were growing cold, and their families were falling apart. Sexuality is such an emotionally charged subject because of a wrong turn taken by the Judaic/Christian belief system 2000 (or 4000 depending on whose research you’re using) years ago, when sex became “original sin,” filthy, evil, etc. I’d studied the Goddess worshipping cultures where sex was sacred, and the where the source of life – woman – was honored. (I read “When God Was a Woman,” by Merlin Stone in my twenties, and it shifted my own belief system.) So I thought I’d write that book that brought that sense of sacred-sex into a marriage. (It still stuns me that anyone could view the source of life, the source of comfort, and connection, but it is what it is, yes?) Back to the book? There’s only so much time in the day, and now I teach what I would have written. In my hypnotherapy practice, when women can’t lose weight, I ask them, “So how’s the sex?” And after the tears stop flowing, I get an ear full. Usually women who are carrying around 40 to 50 extra pounds are “starved” for love, and they feel compelled to feed their face to get it. (And thus create an obsessive compulsive behavior.) So I hypnotize them into loving themselves more, accepting their bodies, and letting go of their weight.
5. In your work as a hypnotherapist and on your website StephanieRiseley.com, you mention that Guided Imagery can help to “reprogram brains.” Can you share a few tips on how writers can use this method to help quiet stress and find the clarity we need to focus on our writing?
Hypnosis, Guided Imagery, Meditation, Prayer – all create Theta Waves in the brain and that’s when the creative juices can flow freely. That’s why writers are prone to drug use and alcohol abuse – they want to get to that “state of being” fast, easily and without effort. On my website, I explain hypnosis, and for any creative person, getting into that state of focused concentration (hypnosis) is essential. The easiest way is to close your eyes, and focus on your own breathing, and learn how to calm yourself down. I make CDs for my clients, and teach them techniques that become automatic, so they can keep calm in LA traffic, or when their 15 year-old son doesn’t come home, or the Dow Jones falls. I teach my clients to do an internal inventory, and ask all the different parts of their body, “Is everything okay this fifteen seconds?” So, why not try it? Close your eyes, and begin at your toes. Have a dialogue with all the parts of your body. By the time you reach your head, you’ll be ready to write!
6. The work you’ve done with clients on Past Life Regressions is fascinating. Do you think these sessions would provide someone with enough material to write a memoir about one of (or a combination of) their previous lives?
Absolutely! I would bet that most historical writers are just accessing “old files” in their brain – and the collective unconscious. I’ve got a screenwriter coming in today to do just that – she wants to access a past life to use in a script – a murder mystery.
7. In your post on Holistic Future, you say “souls incarnate to learn different things.” So, how can we live more consciously every day in order to achieve our purpose for this life?
Show up for the life you are living now. Appreciate everything you have, as opposed to thinking about what you don’t have or worrying about tomorrow. Know that everyone in your life – even your impossible mother-in-law – is there to teach you something. Patience, perhaps? Compassion? Who knows? When you look at your day as an ever unfolding series of moments, and are able to find things to be grateful about, it changes your life completely. Your life is what you are thinking – literally – and if you are constantly criticizing yourself, or your husband, your life, your world, etc., you are creating a negative force field around yourself. So flip your thoughts into a “gratitude groove” (neuropathways) and encourage yourself appreciate “what is.”
And if you’re a writer? Write. That’s your purpose, or an aspect of it. I remember a quote from Rust Hills in, “Fiction,” that goes something like: “Maybe you can’t make a sows ear into a silk purse, but very few sows ears want to be silk purses.” So if you want to write, you’re a writer. It’s your job/purpose to share what you have to say with the rest of us, yes?
I will be speaking at the Bodhi Tree here in Los Angeles later on this summer, and then depending on what shows up, I’ll just keep going forward. I just did some interviews on YouTube, which were fun. My life feels like white water river rafting – but I’m getting good at it. We’re all here to develop skills and enjoy the adventure, yes? Thanks for having me here!
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