I was introduced to the Personal Totem Pole Process in 2000 when I met the Animal of My Heart in Luxembourg guided by Isabella ben Charrada. He was an elephant and my other chakra animals quickly followed him, introducing themselves in my inner world.
My first journey was fascinating as it wasn’t the 30 year old but the 9 year old in me who was lifted onto my elephant’s back! A part of me I now call, “Little Jess”! For it was when I was 9 that I had a Haemorrhagic Stroke and Hydrocephalus and her/my little head was covered in bandages. Yet my animals took us on a very gentle journey towards healing the emotional wounds left from this trauma.
I was totally entranced by this first hour and a half immersion into the PTPP and I have continued to journey with my animals ever since. I also studied under Stephen Gallegos taking the 3 Year Core Curriculum Training in Copenhagen which continued to deepen this inner process.
Yet as an actor and director my animals have also guided me into my own storytelling and amazingly I’m now a published author. Something I never thought I would ever be, having had a Stroke.
My first book is called, “The Elephant of My Heart” and tells of what happened to “Little Jess” on her first journey. In the intervening years it became a show but now it’s taken another step and has become a musical with songs by Chris Chambers (Another Way Theatre Co) and directed by Beth Wood (Prospero Theatre Co). Yet this show has a twist, for at the end I introduce the audience to the Animals at their Hearts using a short PTPP visualization.
The Personal Totem Pole Process and Storytelling are a perfect match and kids take to the process very quickly and easily. Often they’ve found their animals before I’ve finished asking if they’d like to find their inner animal! Then their sheer delight as they begin interacting with them is a constant joy for me.
If any readers are interested in finding out more about the show there’s a five minute video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvDk4hkp2KM
which tells you more of how the PTPP is used in the rehearsal process as well as giving a taste of the show, which includes a 7 foot puppet of my elephant! Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about using PTPP with kids in a drama setting.
I’d also be happy to forward you my book if you’d like to find out where my animals took me on my first journey. I would love to hear what you think about it! Though it does start with a trauma the book is geared for children at any age!
Or do email me if you’d like to donate something to the costs of taking it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. My email address is animalofyourheart [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk. I can then let you know about the Crowd Fund we’re setting up. The Production costs stand at £10,000 and so far we’ve raised just over half of that. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Lastly I’d like to thank Stephen Gallegos for the Personal Totem Pole Process and to Mary Diggin for offering me a spot here to tell you all about where my elephant has taken me and will be taking me! Edinburgh here we come!