Carmen case study

In a room full of artefacts, patterned cushions, coloured glass lampshades (I looked up a lot!) and blankets… if only the blankets could speak! They’d share more insight and wisdom than an oak tree. They’ve witnessed it all.

When I first met Andrew Wallas, I felt naked. I felt his eyes look straight through me. I felt there was no place to hide. And I had a deep, deep knowing that this man was going to become a significant part of my life. The trust I felt in the synchronicity of how I ended up standing on red, yellow and purple fleece blankets in his training room was unquestionable.

Surprised by the cashmere jumpers, and ironed shirt, half expecting a long-haired hippy dressed in floating linen. Andrew understood my conflict. My confusion. Later to be temporarily labelled he has the knowledge, experience and intuition to dissect the layers. To see simplicity in everything. “There’s nothing complicated about this stuff”. I get it.

We are only a product of our experiences, our thoughts, our upbringing and if you’re comfortable to go there, our past lives. We’re all connected. There’s actually very little difference between us. As one of us acclaimed, “We are far more united than the things that divide us”.

Over our 33 indulgent days at The School for Wizards, my most tender moments were unravelled when I least expected them. Often when resistant, and not knowing what was going to rear its ugly head. My shadow. On one occasion, when, as I sometimes could, I’d sit there for hours knowing in the pit of my stomach that something wasn’t right. My body knew. But did I know? Hell no. As I tuned in to my body, I’ve learnt more and more that I can’t hide from the warning signs my body throws at me. “Stop. Listen. I’m here. You can’t carry on like this” or even just whispering “I don’t think this is right for you. You’re off your path. Please listen to me.” For me, I feel it in my stomach. My voice disappears and I retreat into myself. And this was one of those days. And he knew.

We would often pull one of our names from a pack, for when someone was required to demonstrate the point we all needed to hear. Who would work through their stuff. When we did this work, it was the most powerful experience, impossible to fully describe. And the beauty was to watch the impact on every single person in the room.

So that day my name came out the pack. I knew it. He knew it. So, here I was volunteering my process, and whatever was going to unfold, for us all.

Andrew held me. One arm on my stomach. One on my back. He took me on a journey of breaking through the labels and reasons I’d given myself for not having children in my life. His very presence and his acute questioning sent me into uncontrollable tears, again and again. And he cried with me. Holding me.

The magnitude of this work explodes in group work. And for him to hold that space is incredible. To hold that space and make that stand for each and every one of us, time and time again for 2 years is commitment and love.

At times he would look exhausted. You’d think he was carrying not just all our stories, but many other clients and his own family energies. After a weekend processing stuff, and it is just that, stuff or stories, I’d leave not able to speak. It is exhausting work.

Our work over the 2 years would cover the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual self. Andrew brought together other teachers, some of whom he’d known for over 30 years. I felt privileged to be exposed to the views and experience of some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the world.

As I look back to day one, I recall why I believed the School for Wizards was right for me. Andrew’s initial observation was that I was lost. That I had so many options of which way to turn, but I didn’t know which way to go. My energy was fear and although I had plenty of everything I needed in my life, I was looking for connectedness with people. I needed a nudge to align me and allow myself to step into who I wanted to be in the world.

Two years later, what do I know. As one mind. We all have the same thoughts. But to be able to shed light on my thoughts and to ‘rearrange the furniture’ is the gift Andrew has given me. To know my survival strategy, to see my schizoid, to feel into my heart, give and receive, find my centre, see the inauthentic masculine, be vulnerable, know and love my shadow and most importantly to see my story and let it go.

Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. Life won’t be the same again. It can be magical. I feel more at peace. But I also know life can be difficult and painful, but I now know why, and I know that like everything in this world. It’s temporary.