A lot of people have too much in their heads that they become imbalanced. You have to reach into your inner fire and get into your body so that you’ll find balance. Join your host, Timothy J. Hayes, Psy.D as he talks to Beatrice Birch, Founder, ED, and director of the therapeutic program of the Inner Fire Proactive Healing Community in Vermont. She was first interviewed in this podcast on April 7, 2020, where she detailed her work in providing deep healing without medication. She now returns to open up about her own inner fire by talking about achieving balance as a therapist and a human being.
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Inner Fire: Soul Healing With Beatrice Birch
Beatrice Birch is the Founder, ED and the Director of the Therapeutic Program of the Inner Fire Proactive Healing Community. She’s worked as an artistic therapist for many years in integrative clinics and doing inspiring initiatives in England, Holland, and the United States in which the whole human being of body, soul, and spirit is recognized and embraced in the healing process. She has lectured and taught as far afield as Taiwan.
Her passionate belief in both the creative spirit within everyone and the importance of choice along with her love and interest in the human being has taken her also into prisons. She has volunteered for many years, offering soul support through alternatives to violence work and watercolor painting. She was first interviewed on the show that was published on April 7th, 2020. Please reference that for more details about the Inner Fire Residential Treatment Center. In this episode, we will focus more on Beatrice as a therapist and her philosophy of dealing with human beings.
Beatrice, thank you so much for being here. It’s delightful to see you again.
It’s a pleasure to be back meeting with you, Tim. I appreciate it very much also.
I was noticing and preparing for this second interview. Our first interview with you was published sometime in April of 2020. Our readers can go back there and find out more about the layout of Inner Fire and the overview of your program. I was hoping you could share with us more in this talk your philosophy of the person and how we develop our struggles and resolve them. Take us on a little bit of a journey into your mind and how you work with people.
Tim, have you ever heard the expression, “We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience?”
That fairly simply thumbs it up. I sometimes wonder, “How did we get to where we are where we’re treating human beings fairly inhumanely?” Our greatest challenge is the view of the human being. As materialism has strengthened, we forget to recognize that the human being is a spiritual being. We have parts of ourselves that are physical. We have our physical body but we all know we have a soul, which is the home of our feelings, sympathies, and antipathies. We have a part of ourselves that has never been wounded. There’s a part of us that is wounded.
You can see it in different ways. We have threefold. Let’s start with a threefold. We have our physical body, a soul, and a spirit. The fourfold is the physical body and the soul consists of an etheric life body, which is strengthened by when there is rhythm and order in our life. It’s where our memories live. Many cultures are aware of this. We’ve lost it fairly in this country and the Western part of the world.
People are more than their feelings.
We have our astral body, which is the home of our sympathy and antipathy. We have another part of ourselves, which is the part that reincarnates, that comes time and again, which is the part that’s the witness. I refer to it as the charioteer, the higher self, however you want to see. We know we have feelings but we know we are more than our feelings. That’s the part of us that’s more than our feelings.
When we think of what we’re doing to people of all ages where the suicidal rate has gone off as has the use of the psychotropic medications for all ages, it doesn’t take much imagination to wonder if there’s a link between all of that. Typically, our psychotropic medications and also the other substances and street drugs that people use disconnect our body, soul and spirit.
That’s why so many people will cut themselves, Tim, because the meds disconnect us from our feelings. People say, “I feel zombified. I can’t think clearly. I can’t feel. I’m not able to do anything.” They wonder, “I might feel anything if I cut myself.” What we are doing through these psychotropic medications is causing chaos within the human body-soul relationship and therefore, through the spirit.
That’s how we work at Inner Fire, and how I meet and work with people as whole human beings. I presented in Rotterdam the theme which I found interesting. I thought, “I’ve got nothing to lose.” The theme of my presentation was, “Supposed Mental Health is a Reductionist Term for Soul Health,” and the room was packed. People are so thirsty.
What I’m saying is not particularly profound. It’s not rocket science. A lot of people in their hearts know this. They know that we’re all living crazy fast lies where there’s no time to pause, think, and feel. Plus, if I feel, what am I going to do about it? That’s where we would hope to empower people is have your feelings and choose. It’s your freedom. What are you going to do about it?
What I’m hearing you say resonates so much with the work I do with people. I interviewed a gentleman who’s a retired politician in Australia. He’s beside himself at the pattern that’s emerging in Australia, which is one that’s born out of this medical model that says, “We’re just machines.” If you get the right component parts in the right balance, then, “Thank you, ma’am. Here’s another prescription.”
They’ve got a lot of people they have to try and service and they’re doing it with the national medical system. They found the most efficient way they could get people seen was to have them be seen by their primary care physician. They’ll get a fifteen-minute or a half an hour session. This generalist will determine what’s needed.
If you’re thinking about an assembly line and you have to process millions of people, it’s an efficient system. If you think that we are the physical and we need to add a little bit of that chemical vitamin C, vitamin D, and maybe a little bit of Adderall or whatever stimulant medication is, and we’ll be better, that makes good sense.
When you understand what you were saying, this is a complex system of layers and the physical body is part of the vehicle for the soul, the spirit, the emotional life, then it doesn’t make any sense at all. He’s working diligently to try and wake people up to the fact that what they’re doing over there is creating hundreds of thousands of children who are medicated rather than being taught about their life, emotions, relationship, and purpose in life.
The sad thing is that it’s good for business. What’s good for business is rarely good for human being. A doctor contacted me a while ago telling me her main clientele is suicidal psychiatrists. These psychiatrists are human beings. They went into it with the best of intentions but they’re trapped in a system. Who creates the system?
The pharmaceutical and the insurance companies, we all know they’re in each other’s back pockets. When I went to meet with a medical director them, I walked in and stated, “The whole system is broken. We are there pouring millions of dollars into a broken system. It’s politics. How many suicides and deaths do there need to be before we change?” That’s what concerns me.
If we can somehow acknowledge that the heart is not a pump, the brain is not a computer, for people to understand the soul informs the brain. We know the brain is flexible. We’re not victims. We can help people. One element which is important to me which we treat everyone who comes to Inner Fire is we’re creators and not victims.
To recognize, and I probably mentioned this on the last episode we had together, no matter what has happened in life, there are opportunities for growth. We’re human beings that are part of the four kingdoms we know, the mineral, the plant, the animal and the human kingdom. A dog is not going to decide to become a vegetarian for a month. The animal kingdom does not have the freedom that we as human beings have. The human being has a choice.
When individuals are not given the support that’s needed for them to review their life and also appreciating that the past is reflected in the present, what is the opportunity for me in working with the challenges? That is empowering. It’s disheartening that the individuals are told, “You have to take this medication.” You’re forcibly injected. There’s such humiliation. There’s disrespect.
There’s so much that comes from a program like yours, where you’re teaching people more about their mind, body, emotions, thoughts, spirit, and creativity. These are the pieces we need to be awakened to so that we’ve got tools for getting through the challenges in life that aren’t, “Take another pill.” I’m hoping you can talk to us a little bit about art therapy, the creative work you do with people, and how you view that fitting into this therapeutic model.
To give the pictures, we work consciously with what I call the fourfold human being. The physical body, the diet, everything like that is important. During the morning, they do practical physical work. They chop down trees. They split wood. They learn how to cook properly, which will empower them for when they leave Inner Fire. They work in the garden. They sow the seeds and plant them. That’s the community work they do in the morning.
We know we can’t be in the out-breath all the time. In the afternoon, you come to in-breath, where you do various deepened therapies. I work with what’s known as Hauschka Artistic Therapy. It is referred to as artistic because it has to do with building up. It’s not analyzing, diagnosing, taking apart, interpreting at all but it’s much of a process.
Depending on the individual, we’ll use different mediums. First of all, you have to understand, get a sense for where the status of the soul the individual is in. Maybe I touched on this before but if one is stuck in the in-breath, if I saw something awful, and I get caught in that breath, then I’m not going to be working with that person with clay, but much more with watercolor.
Mental health is a reductionist term for soul health.
Maybe watercolor is too big a step to take where you’re working with the living element of water, and you have the beautiful luminosity of the color and the color blending to nourish and help the soul to breathe again. Maybe I would start with the pastel, which also you can blend and work with color but is tactile.
If I have had a drug experience where I tip into an out-of-body experience that I’m having a hard time getting back into my body, I will refer as a real out breath where I’ve lost my center. If I was sexually abused, I want to get as far out of this body of pain as possible. If I lose my center, I’m going to hear voices. In a situation like that, we would then work with clay. The principle is to help the individual get into their body, into their fingertips in a practical, tactile way.
What I have noticed is when people first arrive, many of them are medicated, they can arrive shuffling their feet and blurry eye, it takes them ages, weeks and weeks to form a sphere simply. You’re not allowed to roll it. They’re well-behaved, which can be a concern. It takes them a long time to bring that energy into their fingertips where they can shape something.
What’s interesting is as they taper, then they may not be quite so well-behaved because they’re feeling feelings and dealing with suppressed anger. I would say anger as blocked creative energy. It’s energy that should be flowing but it’s been blocked. They’re dealing and having to work with, in a safe environment, emotions that come up. They may be more challenging to work with but not really.
They can form the sphere in no time at all. That’s fascinating because they are more present, mindful and able to be in their body. That to me, is interesting. They also say, “I can think again or I’m having these feelings and the will.” We think of the soul forces as the ability to think clearly, to have heartfelt feelings, and to be able to do. Those are what makes us a human being.
You use the word tapering. I’m assuming you mean tapering off of medications. When you pull that numbing, slowing down mechanism out of the system, there’s more of a flow of energy and they get connected head to heart to spirit. That’s when they can work with the clay more efficiently.
It’s is a beautiful experience. They come and they’re numbed. I remember one man. He hadn’t been here long. A few of us were in the kitchen. He was sitting down. He looked up at me and said, “You all are so compassionate.” The way he said it made me think, “Where have you been?” We’re human beings. We love, respect, and believe in their healing process.
The beautiful thing about the artistic therapies, first of all, you have to get over the hurdle of, “I can’t do this and I’m no good. I’m left with the end results.” That’s a valuable hurdle to get over where one is simply in the process and it’s not an Art class. You don’t have to worry about the end results but it’s a process.
What it dawned on me over the years, what I’m doing is helping them create with what I call their divine creative self. There’s a part of me that thinks, “I’ll jolly well find it, whether it’s through the clay, the watercolor, the pastel or the charcoal.” It’s matchmaking. One of these mediums is going to speak to them. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
I’ve had people with clay in this process I describe with you, who have said to me, “I feel like throwing this through the window because all I’m trying to do is make a sphere and I can’t make this bloom in sphere.” They see it and it’s hard. What was so beautiful to see, is gradually, their consciousness got into their fingertips. They can feel the clay beneath their thumb. They can make it do what they want it to do and the clay is forgiving.
What we would do is from the clay, we go to whittling. Everyone whittles the spoons or other items like this. The beauty is the wood is a little bit less forgiving. You do too much. You can’t mush it back together again the way you can with clay and eventually to stone carving. Each of them strengthens this will, “I want to do this. I make it possible for myself to do this.” That’s this will which has been so suppressed because of various different substances as well as these psychotropic meds.
What strikes me is you’re talking about giving them exercises that strengthen their ability to stay connected and have all of their senses, the head, the heart, and the spirit, working, which so much in our world has been conditioned out of us. We focus on the head. We focus on the thoughts.
Tim, this may be a politically incorrect thing to say, but we are so head-oriented in this country that I would say we’re a fairly psychotic country as people. Psychosis is when we get stuck in our heads and our heads are sitting on our shoulders. We’re not in our organism in the same way but what we refer to as mania and having these ideas that are lifting us further and further away from being grounded and this porch but it starts at an early age. Children from kindergarten tend to having to sit down behind desks.
They’re not able to be children and running on trees because they could fall. You were crippled by the insurance and liability. It’s a very unpeople centered country I’m afraid we live in. I remember one time with a woman who was hearing voices and what would be referred to as paranoid, afraid that everyone can read her thoughts.
We were doing something called form drawing on a green board that stands on the side of a barn here. We are outdoors with nature around us. We are doing particular forms, repetitive forms on the board to build up the whole etheric, the whole rhythm and order. At the end of the session, I asked her, “Have you heard voices during this time?” She paused, looked at me, and said, “Not at all.”
It was such an experience for her because she was under a fearful state of feeling she was going to have to hear voices for the rest of her life. If you get out of your head, into your body, that’s referred to as a will-based intelligence, Tim. Inner Fire is all about getting grounded, getting into your body. We do a lot of practical physical work here but then you need to nourish the soul. That’s what the artistic therapies and other therapies in the afternoons are about.
I had the pleasure of interviewing a number of people for the show. One of them was Cathy Adams. She’s working with the late teen, early twenties population who have psychotic episodes. It’s a known thing that a certain percentage of us as humans are going to go through that during that turbulent period with all the hormones, social changes, and societal expectations.
There’s solid research that says directly in contrast to what many psychiatrists are taught in their training. When you have a psychotic episode, it doesn’t mean you are schizophrenic. You are bipolar and you have this lifelong. It doesn’t mean that. It means there’s been a shift in your perceptual field and you don’t know how to deal with it.
Know that the heart is not a pump, and the brain is not a computer. It’s the soul that informs the brain.
There’s solid research. This isn’t just wishful thinking that when you get early intervention for those people, the incidents of repeat episodes of psychosis and long-term prognosis change dramatically than if you are given medication and a label and told, “You are one of those unfortunate few who are schizophrenic. This is your lifetime label and here’s your diagnosis. Here are the meds you have to take the rest of your life.”
That tends to produce more and more psychotic episodes and debilitation in the person. Whereas on a regular basis, when people are that young, 17, 18, 20, 24 years old to have a psychotic break, meaning they hear voices. They’re seeing things nobody else sees. They’re stuck inside themselves if they get in early intervention, get plugged into family and community resources, given things to do other than take medication, lo and behold, they emerge on the other side of that. Many don’t have a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th. They go on to live a productive life with this little episode in their past that they grew from.
In addition, Tim, these episodes are happening more and more often because of how life is where it is. It’s head-oriented. People don’t know what to do. Many people have lived their first 21 years, never climbing a tree, hardly doing anything with their hands. The tendency toward a psychotic episode is much higher than when we were children.
The lifestyle has changed and we have to realize how imbalanced the lifestyle is, plus the substances like marijuana being legalized. That’s a huge concern of the whole issue without going into the whole ethical question. It’s a huge concern because it’s reaching our people younger and younger. It also disconnects us from our will. It’s not as dangerous as people say as alcohol but it’s certainly undermining. Many of the people who’ve been here at Inner Fire started innocently with marijuana.
The other thing is that the younger a person is introduced to, whether it’s alcohol or marijuana, it’s affecting the development of their young brain. Dr. Daniel Amen is one of many people who are studying this and saying, “This stuff affects the brain development every bit as much as trauma.” You’ve got Gabor Mate, who does work and research on how trauma affects the developing brain. They can see it. The same thing is happening if we’re too young and we get introduced to these chemicals that change brain functioning. It’s happening in the context of us not being active physically, connected mentally and emotionally, being outdoors, feeling our sense of agency.
We can give somebody a medication. Ethically, doctors have this vow, “Do no harm.” Can you ethically give somebody a medication which side effects are suicidal ideations, danger to yourself or others, insomnia? We know if we don’t get enough sleep, that can lead to mania. The quality of food, they can vary.
As one elderly friend said to me, “What sensitive thoughtful person would not be depressed when you look at the state?” Nevertheless, we are creators and we can work with these challenges. We are here for a reason. We all need to bring change to claim our voice, speak up, and do it. Find our colleagues and do what we can to bring the change that’s so needed.
To spread the message, get the word out there that if somebody who’s having a psychotic episode, the answer is not just take some meds and get thrown in the hospital. In the throes of an intense episode, that might be good to keep people safe but it’s certainly not the answer. You mentioned sleep deprivation, which is one of the biggest things that, Jim Gottstein, an attorney in Alaska, is an advocate for mental health issues.
He got a Law degree from Harvard, went out and was practicing Law as a young guy. He’s got a degree from Harvard and all gung-ho. He’s working on a case and stays up real late 2, 3 or 4 nights in a row. The case is ready to be presented, so he pulls an all-nighter. The next thing, he has a psychotic episode and he’s walking around, outside naked or pounding on somebody’s door that isn’t his house. He ends up in a hospital drugged up. When he’s in the hospital, the people in the hospital think, “This guy is psychotic.”
He tells them as he’s coming out of the fog, “No, I’m an attorney.” “Sure you are.” They pat him on the head. “No, not only that but I went to Harvard.” “You’re a doctor from Harvard. That’s good.” They won’t even listen even though the facts of the matter are he’s telling the truth. He’s found now clarity. He’s no longer psychotic and they wouldn’t believe him. He had to stumble across a psychiatrist who took the time to hear his story and said, “Anybody who goes without sleep for 4 or 5 days might have a psychotic episode. What we need to do is help you get some decent sleep and take you off of this other medication.” That happens often.
All too few times do you stumble across somebody who understands the role of the balance as you’re talking about the sleep, the nutrition, the connection to your body, the head, the heart, and the spirit. When you know those pieces and be giving the tools to people, it doesn’t turn into a lifetime of suffering. It turns into a wonderful creative life.
There are these terms, if you want to think about them. When you think of bipolar, what’s bipolar? Bipolar is typically when you think about something and the next thing you know, you’re doing it. It is one extreme or the other but you’re missing the feeling realm. We all are thinkers, feelers, and doers. Some of us are more thinkers and feelers but we don’t do.
When the will is weaker, we can see, “I need to balance this. I need to strengthen this in myself.” If I’m a thinker and a feeler, not a lot gets done. If I’m a thinker and a doer, without the feeling, without the heart, that’s dangerous. A lot of things get done that way that would never happen if you felt. If you are a feeler and a doer but you don’t think, then there’s chaos.
For many years, I worked in prisons and a lot of remarkable, beautiful, fine human beings are behind bars. As you get to know them, you realize that they either thought and did without feeling or they felt and did without thinking. They reacted. This is then what happens but all of us can work. We’re all seekers. We’re all growers. We can always work on balancing and learning ourselves. That’s the beautiful thing about human beings, what we can do. This bipolar picture is you don’t have the feelings.
Everyone I know who’s ever worked in the prison system from a holistic perspective, viewing people with respect. They come out and they say almost exactly what you say. There are wonderful, beautiful, creative, loving, and respectful people in there. This isn’t all of them but many of them are. As a culture, I was taught to think that if you did something and landed in jail or prison, you were not the same as the rest of us. You didn’t deserve any rights or respect. You deserved what you got.
You were an animal, not a human. I remember being taught that as a young person and a young adult thinking of it that way, moving into my experience in college. I started working as a volunteer in probation. I started discovering, “That’s not true. These are people like me.” They fall on rough times. They were raised in abusive households. This is all they know how to do. When you give them other options, they start responding differently.
That’s why I used to say to the guys, “You all want to get out of here? I love coming in.” I would go in with alternatives to violence project, which started after the Attica Rebellion. Some of the inmates were then sent to another prison in New York. It was remarkable. There were times where I thought, “If I had that situation, what would I have done?”
I remember one man saying to me, “I still had a choice. I made the wrong choice.” I thought, “You’re remarkable.” In our country, I’m sorry to say but we’re archaic in the sense that we still believe you are your crime and you’re never going to change, which is so wrong. It’s Old Testament, stuck. It has nothing to do with recognizing the creation and the individual and that we can move forward.
Anger blocks the creative energy that should be flowing.
Everybody has their story. If they can realize their opportunities in these stories for growth, I don’t have to stay a victim. The animal can’t change. We all have the animal in us but we can choose to think differently about our life situation when we grow to understand it more. As long as we medicate, which is good for business and has nothing to do with what’s best for the human being, people get stuck. They don’t need to be stuck.
We get trained to think and believe in a certain way. All the way up until I started working in the probation field, when I was in college, I thought, “If you went to jail, it was all your fault. You’re this far away from being non-human.” I think about the attitude that so many of our law enforcement people have.
Dr. Gilmartin wrote a book, Emotional survival for law enforcement, where he talks about how almost everybody who works in law enforcement or is a first responder as a paramedic or a fire person that these people have been faced with trauma after trauma. They’re not given the tools to deal with it any more than the people who are thrown in the psychiatric hospital or into prisons. It’s a system that’s broken.
For instance, I was speaking with someone who became a nurse and had wonderful ideals. When he got on the ward and saw how many pills were being popped by the nurses to maintain the crazy responsibilities of the overwork, the schedule, he had a breakdown in a way he couldn’t believe. They were forced to not be honest.
How many law enforcement officers to do what they do, what medications are they on? You have to look and see where is the human being. We always say to our seekers here at Inner Fire, “There’s you, and then there’s you that’s trying to deal with the side effects of tapering slowly and carefully off your meds.” That’s not the same. The essence is there but you are dealing with a heck of a lot of stuff while engaged in your healing journey.
I remember one gentleman that I trained by. He was in Florida back in the time when cocaine was like water in Florida. He said he got so tired of dealing with these people who would come in, pull them out of the gutter near-death, hospitalize them, medical attention, clean them up, get them a shower, and with 3 or 4 days clean, without that stuff pumping through their system, they would bounce back so quickly.
they’d get a shower and a shave. They’d be sitting in his office, saying, “I can handle this on my own.” He got so tired of that. He kept a box of ex-lax in his drawer and he pulled it out and threw it in the center of his desk. He said, “If you’re so certain that you can control the effects of chemicals once you put them in your body, you eat half that box of ex-lax and I’ll eat the other half. We’ll see who will use the bathroom first.”
I like to encourage you to quit using the word side in the middle of this talk about effects. The effects of the drugs people take, the ones they want and the ones they don’t want are in effect of the drug they take. When you’ve been on a medication that changes the flow of the neurotransmitters in your brain, it changes your hormone production and balance. That’s an effect of that medication. You’re going to have effects as your system tries to rebound and balance out. There’s this thing we call homeostasis and balance. You’re going to have effects when you taper off or stop completely. It’s the effects.
I had a beautiful experience when one of our seekers came to talk to me, who was beginning his tapering process. It has happened before but every time it’s beautiful and fun. After lunch, they get liver compresses and rest. The afternoon begins and the person was sharing how, when they lie down, the thoughts start racing in their heads.
They came down and were concerned, “What shall I do?” Our theme song at Inner Fire is Stay Engaged. I knew what his plans were going to be for the afternoon. I spoke with one of the outdoor guide about making sure he’s willfully engaged. He’s doing this or that, that’s the thing. The next three hours, he was with different therapists. At the end of the day, when he and I were working together and I checked in, “How are you doing?” he said, “I’m doing so much better. Staying engaged is the answer, not sitting.”
Many people don’t have the opportunity. They’re in their bed, their apartment or they’re alone. They’re not in the community. That’s tough but it’s beautiful to see, get in your will, come down. The humbling thing is you can’t make anyone do anything. He was open to it. He stayed engaged. We can encourage, control and support. We had one seeker once who said, “Mania is so much more exciting than real life.” I thought, “We’re trying so hard to support you but if you are happier in mania, we shouldn’t make such an effort.” Of course, we did.
There’s the other side of it. In a number of different cultures, historically, this thing that we’re calling mental illness, a psychotic episode, or mania is a part of a spiritual path, process, growth or tool. If you’re dealing with somebody who doesn’t want to give it up, you can’t make them, it might be useful if we had the ability to develop more of these resources to direct them towards somebody who could say, “Let’s have you explore how this might be part of your spiritual path because in a different culture, you might become the shaman.”
People do have beautiful experiences which they can express and share. Speakers know they can talk about anything. At Inner Fire, we have remarkable conversations. People are having more spiritual experiences that they’re not quite sure what to do about but they can see how these experiences are important. They have to be grounded. That’s the thing. You can have these out-of-body experiences if you are on a spiritual path, have prepared yourself and are working in that way. That’s fine. What’s difficult is when people have these experiences and you’re not in a society that accepts and acknowledges them.
They don’t have a guide and you can’t turn it into something that becomes a growth experience and transformational, then it’s a loop of pain and suffering.
People are afraid.
What’s something that you want to share with us that maybe we haven’t touched on yet that you were hoping to get into this talk?
What I touched on is that so many people are alone in this process. My greatest heartache is the tuition of Inner Fire. For Inner Fire to be what it needs to be, it has to be available for people regardless of their race, religion, financial situation, whatever they’ve been in. If you want to be proactive in your healing journey, then you should be able to come to Inner Fire.
We live in a country where insurance wants you to be fixed and sort out your life in 3 weeks’ time or 3 months at the most. Inner Fire is typically a year program. I’m so relieved that we can have people come slowly, carefully off their medications, that they can reclaim their lives. We have what we call a support seeker fund. We’ve always been able to support people over the years with minimal cost but we can’t do that with everybody.
Psychosis is when you get stuck in your head, so get out of your head and into your body.
Somewhere, we have to find a way outside the box to attract donors or people who’ve gone through this or have loved ones who’ve gone through this so that we can create a fund which can help people who want to be proactive. One thing I’d like to mention is that we’re stuck. For the first six years of Inner Fire, I didn’t take an income because it makes it easier for me to ask others if they could give. We’ve got wonderful guides here who work so hard. They need an income and so on. We keep it as minimal as possible but it’s still a lot.
Let’s say somebody had some money and wanted to donate to this. Would you call it support a seeker fund?
Is there a donate button on the website?
We don’t have that on our website. I guess we could, then we should.
That’s a good idea. A lot of people who read this might say, “I’ve got a little extra money. I went through that or I had a son or daughter who went through that and I’d like to support this.”
We’ll do that. You’re not the first who’s mentioned it. Maybe I’ll say this one other thing, which is important, Tim. I was once asked, “How do when someone’s ready to leave Inner Fire?” I also got her phone call. Somebody was phoning about his sister and saying, “What’s the proof that you can fix my sister?” I said, “There’s no proof. It’s teamwork. It’s not a machine. We’re not working with machines.”
I would say what my aim is for the seekers who come here is if we can help them connect with what I call the divine creative self, the part that’s unwounded, when they leave Inner Fire, we can’t promise you’ll never have challenges again in your life. That’s ridiculous. Life is about challenges, growing, and learning. If they’ve connected with that part of themselves, you can work with any challenge that comes your way because it belongs to you.
There’s an opportunity in it. Trauma has a lot to do with it when we don’t learn from this or that experience that we’ve gone through. Why did I need that experience? What’s the opportunity in it, so it doesn’t happen again? It’s hard to digest trauma until we’ve learned, and then we can let it go. It’s a little bit more complicated than that.
Some people still believe you are your crime, and you’re never going to change. This is so wrong.
The gist is things don’t happen by chance. We can think, “Why does this happen to me again and again? Am I learning? What’s blocking me from learning in that way?” Those are the two points. One is Inner Fire has to be available for people regardless of their financial situation. Anyone who can help us, I would be so incredibly grateful. I hate it when people say, “How much does it cost?” and I have to mention it. It’s ethically wrong. This is the system we’re in also.
I greatly appreciate it. I thank you for spending the time with us. I look forward to checking in again. I remember on our first interview, I said, “I’ll check in in a year.” I don’t know what happened. I don’t know how it got be more than a year.
Time goes very quickly.
It certainly did but it’s a blessing to have you join us. Thank you. I’m honored. I look for the next time we get to talk.
Thank you, Tim. Thank you for all the beautiful work you’re doing and the wonderful people you’re interviewing and helping what they’re doing spread.
You’re welcome and deserving.
Thank you, Tim.
- Inner Fire Residential Treatment Center
- Inner Fire: Providing Deep And Lasting Healing – Previous episode
- Catherine Adams – Previous episode
- Jim Gottstein
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About Beatrice Birch
Beatrice Birch is the Founder, ED, and director of the therapeutic program of the Inner Fire Proactive Healing Community in Vermont.
She has worked as a Hauschka Artistic therapist for more than 30 years in integrative clinics and inspiring initiatives in England, Holland and the USA where the whole human being of body, soul and spirit was recognized and embraced in the healing process. She has lectured and taught as far afield as Taiwan. Her passionate belief in both the creative spirit within everyone and the importance of choice, along with her love and interest in the human being has taken her also into prisons where she has volunteered for many years offering soul support through Alternatives to Violence work and watercolor painting.
She was first interviewed on the On Your Mind podcast and it was published on April 7, 2020. Please reference that episode for more details about the Inner Fire proactive healing community.
As in this episode, we will focus more on Beatrice as a therapist and her philosophy of dealing with the whole human being.
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