Surrender 32: Mesmer

I came across this movie recently as I was searching for Alan Rickman films that I’ve missed. It’s a historical piece, set in Vienna in the 18th century, and I was unfamiliar with it. When it popped up again this afternoon, I decided to watch just a few minutes of the movie, to get a feel for it. I was especially intrigued by the subtitle on a movie poster: “Look into his eyes, and surrender the secrets of your soul.” That was very much an invitation!


I was more than intrigued, after watching for a few minutes, and settled in to view the entire film. 

Mesmer stars Alan Rickman, Gillian Barge, Amanda Ooms and Martin Schwab. The 1994 biography/drama was directed by Roger Spottiswoode and has a run time of 1 hour and 47 minutes. The movie is unrated, however, I’d give it a PG-13 rating, for adult themes. 

Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer (Rickman) is a physician in 18th century Vienna, who uses unconventional methods for bringing relief to the ill. Whether the suffering are plagued by physical or mental disorders, Dr. Mesmer believes that the patients have some responsibilities, both for their diseases and their cures. 


He employs what he terms “animal magnetism”, an invisible fluid that courses through all living creatures, to confront illness or dis-ease in the body, bringing about an eventual cure. Mesmer has learned to use the magnetism that runs through his own body to begin the healing process in another. 

However, virtually everyone, including Mesmer’s wife (Barge), believes the doctor to be a fraud, a charlatan, engaging the patient’s imagination with his own charisma, rather than creating true healing. At a time when blood letting was the most oft used course of treatment for all illnesses, Mesmer’s techniques seemed more magical than medical. 

Mesmer has the opportunity to fully use his unorthodox practices on young pianist Maria Theresa Paradies (Ooms), who has suffered from blindness and fits of severe pain since early childhood. Maria’s abusive father (Schwab), who does not want his daughter to be healed, seeks to have Mesmer ostracized from Vienna. No one, from the haughty medical community, to Mesmer’s jealous wife, believes in the amazing claims the doctor makes, even when it appears that Maria regains her sight. 

Is he a charlatan, a fraud…or a genius? 

This was a fascinating movie. I was so curious about whether the story was based on fact, that I paused about 2/3 of the way through, and did research. Franz Mesmer was an actual person, who did propose his theory of an invisible force that could be transferred between living beings and even inanimate objects. He was totally misunderstood and his theories never proven, even though a council that included American Benjamin Franklin studied his techniques and attempted to identify the invisible fluid that Mesmer spoke of.

 The real Franz Mesmer.  

I recognized that Mesmer, whose methods created the word “mesmerize”, was familiar with and used energy flow. He called it an invisible fluid and magnetism, which is an accurate way to describe chi, or the life energy that flows through us all. His manner of using his own hands to direct that invisible force, bringing healing to others, is very similar to the practice of reiki. 

Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Dr. Mesmer created deep sympathy within me. As a boy, Franz saw the harmony in nature and the disharmony, in mind and body, of humans. That imbalance, he believed, led to many of the ailments that people suffered from. “How could I not try to help?” he asked. 


Mesmer believed that the eyes could see inwardly, as well as outwardly, and that each person must begin the journey toward healing by gazing inside first.  He didn’t offered immediate healing. He knew it was a day by day journey. However many who sought him out were disillusioned when their afflictions weren’t instantly cured. Mesmer appeared to live in the moment, knowing that past trauma could result in disorders and that trying to live in the future created anxieties of the mind and spirit. Sadly, he was way ahead of his time, in his thoughts and beliefs. And truthfully, even by today’s medical standards,  his energy practices would still be considered unconventional by many. 

This is a film, a story, that will stay with me for a long time. I truly was…well…mesmerized by Mesmer, and appreciative of his work, his heart and his vision. I’ll never again hear that word that’s synonymous with enchantment, without thinking of Dr. Franz Mesmer. 


Journey 323: Color Me Orange

The past two days I’ve had the opportunity to be at home, practicing self care as I deal with November allergies. A benefit of getting more rest has been time to write and work on my assignments for Week Three in The Artist’s Way. I’m loving this twelve week course and delving deeply into my creativity. 

This week the focus is on recovering my sense of power. Part of that restoration centers around looking at my childhood. It’s been a fascinating week, as I’ve been guided to bring healing light into my distant past. I’ve been inspired by the artwork of Steve Head, who uses his creativity to tell family stories, and I’ve received insight from my own writing. 

Working on a seemingly simple exercise….”Describe your childhood room”…I uncovered something perplexing. I’ve shared before that I grew up with a lot of fear. Being alone at night in my bedroom brought terror. I learned to deal with it by suppressing all negative emotion…fear, yes, but also anger, sadness, grief and crying, which was the outward expression of those emotions. So in describing my childhood bedroom, what arose within wasn’t a physical description but emotions from long ago. 

The assignment didn’t ask “What do you feel…?”. It asked for a description. Detaching from the sense of dread that still lingers around thoughts of my old bedroom, I began to matter-of-factly describe the room. In its outward appearance, it was an ordinary bedroom. Windows, a closet, hardwood floors, a bed, a desk and a dresser. Very early on, I had a pink bedspread, pink curtains and rugs. But around age seven or eight, and continuing until age sixteen, I switched to the color orange. I wrote another sentence or two and then paused. 

Wait a minute. 

I sat thinking. Orange. Why the color orange? I don’t even much like the color orange. Blue is my favorite color. Blues, grays, greens. Orange is at the bottom of my list of preferred colors. And yet for years, my bedroom was decorated in orange. During my early teens, I even had a bedroom wall covered in floor to ceiling orange curtains, concealing the closet door behind them. 

I love when something catches my attention. My curiosity goes on alert. This year, I have learned to follow that curiosity and see where it leads me. What did Little Cindy instinctively know, that adult Cindy is just becoming aware of? I wanted to find out. 

What a fascinating study today, around the color orange. For years I’ve practiced energy work, familiar with the energy centers in the body called chakras. There are seven chakras that are located from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Each chakra is represented by a color. The color orange is associated with the sacral chakra, located just beneath the navel.

Someone with a balanced sacral chakra is open to the world around her. She has energy, compassion, grounded intuition, emotional stability and a zest for life. However, if she closes this chakra down, in an attempt to control what’s going on in her life, she can experience repressed emotions, timidity, depression, and the inability to act on, or speak, her thoughts. I wouldn’t have consciously known all that as a little girl.  

However, what’s interesting is the effect that using the color orange has on balancing an imbalanced sacral chakra. Using orange brings warmth and happiness into the room and into the chakra. Orange has a freeing action on the body and mind, relieving repressions. Orange illuminates new possibilities and other options in life, stimulates creative thinking and enthusiasm, and helps assimilate new ideas. It offers emotional strength in difficult times,  helps us to take account of our lives, to face the consequences, to take action and make appropriate changes, and then to move onward and upward. Using a light orange color, for energy healing, combats fear and gives courage. 

I am amazed at what I discovered today, about the balancing effects of the color orange and about my inherent wisdom as a child. As fearful as she was, and in spite of closing off a powerful energy center, Little Cindy intuitively used the very color needed to boost her energy and flood her space, and her body, with warmth and healing light.

As a child, I experienced great relief each morning as the sun rose. The long night was ended. Light won over the darkness. Today I read that orange combines the yellow of sunshine and the vitality of red to bring joy and life. How grateful and humbled I am, for the gift of the color orange. I had forgotten its role in my young life. I’ve remembered now. There will be orange in my home again. And how grateful I am to my young, intuitive self. The Artist’s Way is connecting me again with my inner creative child. I’m listening to her. It’s about time. 


Journey 204: Energy Healing Session

I have studied energy work, also known as energy healing or energy medicine, for several years. Classified as alternative medicine, energy work includes such practices a Reiki, Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine, Quantum Touch, EFT, Chakra Healing, Barbara Brennan’s Energy Work, and Touch Therapy, which is another name for a biblical term….laying on of hands. In most of these modalities, the use of the hands to direct a flow of energy is vital.

energy work heart hands

Everything, including our bodies, is made up of energy. Energy flows and moves. When the body is not in optimal health, the energy flow can be slow and stagnant, operating at a lower vibration. The purpose of energy healing is to open up blocked channels of energy and to send energy to areas of the body which are injured or dense with stale energy. I have learned a lot about how energy flows through the body, and what happens when that energy is trapped or becomes stagnant. I have done energy work on myself, and on others, yet I have never had an energy healing session done for me. I have wanted to experience a session and I thought I would have to go to a bigger city, such as Springfield or Kansas City, to have one.

I love how the Divine directs the flow of Life, bringing events and people to me, or taking me to them. What I need is supplied. I have been in my reading group for a year now. We are about to complete our second book together. I knew that three of our members are massage therapists who share a suite of rooms in a building. I did NOT know, until a week ago, that Margit also does energy work. What an amazing opportunity, from a dear woman who not only contributes wonderfully to our book club discussions, but has become a friend.

This afternoon, I got to have my first ever energy healing session, with Margit of Massage and Posture Therapy. (Check out her Facebook page HERE) She asked me about any areas of discomfort or concern and listened thoughtfully as I told her about my car accident. Twenty years ago I was a passenger in a car that was rear ended by a pick-up truck going 55 miles per hour. Thankfully, my family survived with minimal injuries. My seat belt kept me from going through the windshield, when the car abruptly came to a halt after being knocked down the highway, but the back of my seat broke. While my belt held me in place, my whole upper body twisted and was thrown violently back and then forward toward the dashboard and then back again, into the back seat. My neck, back, sternum and shoulder were injured.

The short version of this account is, after five years of physical therapy, spinal injections, exercises, and treatments, I still had permanent nerve damage in my lower back that affects both legs and both feet, and damage to my sternum and ribs, from the seat beat. I live with pain, daily. I don’t let it stop me from doing what I want to do, but it does affect my mobility. (If you’ve ever seen me get up out of a chair, after sitting for too long, you’ll know what I mean.) I don’t want to be defined by pain, or accidents or injuries. I would love to know what pain free feels like again. However, I mostly desire flexibility and mobility.

After listening carefully, Margit had me lie on my back while she worked. She lightly rested her hands on specific points along my body, directing energy flow. Her hands quickly became hot, as energy moved. Even before she slipped a hand beneath my lower back, heat began to build there, radiating outward. I feel energy easily. It tingles across my scalp and face, courses through my body, hums, literally. I can often feel my own vibrational field as it pulses with life energy.

energy work healing hands

In the quiet, darkened room, with soft music playing, energy stirred around sore, tender places in my back, along the sciatic nerves down both legs, around my knees, which tend to get locked into position by muscles that tighten because of nerve pulses, or perhaps because of the lack of them. As Margit worked, I relaxed deeply, muscles sometimes trembling as they released tension or pain. Heat flowed with the energy. And as I lay there, I thought about how energy gets stuck in the region of the heart, as Michael A Singer writes about in The Untethered Soul. It must move, so it circles, buried beneath memories, until something triggers the emotion or pain that trapped that energy there initially. And then the energy surges, seeking release. We can relax and allow the energy and the old pain, the old emotion, to pass through, gaining release. Or we can resist the stirring of energy, push the pain and emotion back down, control ourselves tightly….until the next time something triggers the old energy.

What if an injury in the body causes the same thing….trapping energy related to the accident within the region affected? That energy must move, even if sluggishly….so it circles, runs along nerves, creating an uncomfortable loop. I realized years ago that I had held on to resentment toward the driver of the truck. When I released that resentment and anger, my pain greatly diminished. Now, perhaps by unblocking energy, and  giving it a way to flow properly again, I can further eliminate pain and restore mobility to my legs, knees and feet. I am ready to completely release that old accident energy. I believe Margit can help me do that! She also uses massage and posture therapy, which I am interested in as well.

Margit’s business card has printed along the bottom edge, “put the body in motion and it will heal itself”. I am so captivated by that thought and I am excited to journey with Margit to learn how to best allow my body to heal itself. I am grateful to have discovered that my friend has an amazing gift, offering healing and comfort with the touch of her hands. And grateful that we were drawn together through the book club, Divinely so.

Day 65: Teach an Energy Class


Today’s first, teaching a class about energy, was an item that went on my list of possible firsts very recently. The opportunity to present such a class showed up last week! I am grateful to Lisa at Keller Williams for asking me, and my amazing office for allowing me to teach what I am passionate about. Keller Williams Realty believes in creating an atmosphere that nurtures personal and professional growth for their agents. I thrive in such an environment.

Energy work is a topic I’ve been studying for a while. Everything is energy, or Spirit, everything. My thoughts, my emotions, this chair I’m sitting in, are all forms of energy, vibrating at different frequencies. It has been a fascinating study, and in many ways, confirmation of what I’ve instinctively known since childhood, to see the correlation between what I think, and the way the world appears around me. My beliefs are evident in the thoughts I have, the words I speak, and the actions I take. The world reflects back to me what I believe to be true.

Our bodies are greatly impacted by the energy swirling within and without. Stress takes a toll on our energy level, depleting it. Hurtful experiences in the past can become clogged energy around our hearts that affects how we live now. Resisting what has already happened in the past, or worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet, uses up huge amounts of energy, leaving us with little vitality for living in this moment.

Our bodies respond to daily stress by becoming agitated and then sluggish. In today’s class, it was a joy to share about the importance of watching our thoughts, beliefs and words. And about releasing the energy that can get stuck, and keep us stuck as well. I also shared some simple tips for releasing stress and increasing personal energy. We breathed together. We thumped our spleen points. We stretched and moved. We did some things that the casual passerby might have thought looked strange! But there was purpose in each technique and movement of energy.

I appreciated the willingness of the agents taking the class to participate, ask questions and share. What a fun and gracious group they were. At the end of our time together, I believe they felt energized. I know I did!