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Autogenic Habitats: A New Explorer In Sanctuary

by Kelly Burch

Autogenic Habitats: A New Explorer In Sanctuary

Kelly Burch writes: A few months ago I learned about something called Autogenic Habitats. I had no idea what this was at first. In fact I had to Google to find the definition of the word "autogenic". It means: "self-generating" or "from within".

So these habitats were literally places that I could create from within myself?


My first experience was using an Autogenic Habitat to turn a common saying or phrase into a place and see what unfolded. To see what it taught me about the phrase or myself. I was excited to give this a go. It sounded challenging and I wondered how I would do this without my brain jumping in and making it all up. You see, the "from within" part refers to a part of us that isn't our thinking, deciding brain. It is our energy mind that does the generating. I wasn't sure that I would be able to tell the difference.

So I chose the phrase "Life is not all sunshine and roses". I was in a bit of a grumpy mood at the time with my role as a mother to two young children. The saying suited the mood well - I understood this phrase as a reminder that not everything can be positive and happy, that life has serious and maybe negative moments. That that's just how life is.

So to begin creating an Autogenic Habitat for this phrase I considered what this phrase would look like if it was a place. So automatically I saw my back yard in my mind's eye. But it wasn't my real back yard. It was my back yard with more sunshine, more roses, more greenery, greener grass. I noticed that there were no kids' toys or play equipment. This was fun evolving this place! It was a perfect place. I could almost really smell the roses by thinking about it, their fragrance wafting in the air. The buzz of bees. The slight noise of trees in a gentle breeze. I could almost feel it on my skin. By inviting these sensations in and acknowledging the state of the weather and the day around me, it was feeling real!

I introduced a version of myself to this perfect place. It is an aspect of who I am that exists here. They have the freedom to do and say and feel in any way they want. Awesome! They can also create what they want in this world. I wanted to know what she would do. It felt a little like a movie or a story unfolding.

First she soaked up her perfect space. She lay and relaxed in the grass and smiled. Things were so perfect, how could she not feel great!

But then was the first stirring of something I knew that my conscious mind wouldn't have made. And I knew then that this was truly things unfolding as they were meant to. My aspect didn't feel so relaxed anymore. She was sitting up and seemed sad. She feels so sad that she starts to cry. It is interesting how I feel sad too. She stands up and seems a little worried as well as sad now and she is pacing back and forth over a patch of perfect grass. She is feeling alone.

The suggestion was to use Emotional Freedom Technique if I ever got 'stuck' within the habitat along the way. I felt that the aspect was a little stuck in a loop of worry and aloneness and needing some support, so I chose to tap for "The aspect is lonely".

Still looking at the aspect (it is as if I am looking down on this scene sometimes and at others I am right there beside the aspect) I notice a change in her and she is less sad, but still serious. I feel like she is very much drawn to a tree in the yard. I can't remember if that tree was there before but it's there now. And interestingly, I actually feel a little bit scared here. I know that my conscious mind doesn't know why this tree is drawing the aspect's attention and it's a little unnerving. I want to ignore the feeling. Let my brain take over. A big part of me doesn't want to know what's there. The conscious mind isn't in control here, the energy mind is. Do I trust the energy mind to be showing me something I need to see? I decide that yes, I do. So I end this battle with myself and I let things continue as they are unfolding naturally.

She is in front of the tree now. I know there is *something* in the thick of the branches of the tree but not what. The aspect reaches her hands in, finds something, she closes her hand around it and brings it back out. In the palm of one of her hands (that seem strangely softer and more delicate now than mine do) is a tiny dead bird. It is cold and solid. The aspect is crying and feels like her heart is breaking for it. This precious bird died alone. I find myself crying too. I use Emotional Freedom Technique again and tap for the bird.

The bird is no longer there and the aspect is now feeing stronger and standing taller. She feels happier and more alive. I feel what she is feeling and it feels really good! In fact I can't think of anything else that I've created with my thoughts that ever had me feeling so good! And so easily too!

She has a sense of knowing just what to do now - she wants someone to enjoy this space with her. Her house is there behind her. She calls out and a door opens and the aspect's family come out of the house and run towards her in the garden, all giving her a big hug. Her husband gives her a kiss too. She then shares with them what she was admiring before on her own: the beauty of the environment, the perfectness of the space. It seems to be even more beautiful as she is able to share it and then begins to watch her children play and laugh together in this space. The exercise feels complete here and I am back in the real world again.

This was an exercise where I began with a phrase about how not everything can be positive and happy. Yet the things that I had felt grumpy about to begin with had become a source of happiness and added a sense of completeness to the scene. The metaphoric 'sunshine and roses' (joys in life) at the end of the scene were in the things that I had initially gone to the perfect garden to escape from. Amazing to see this shift presented so clearly.

I didn't expect this outcome but it is certainly welcomed. Having finished this exercise I was very excited to use Autogenic Habitats again. If I could experience such sensations and emotions from unfolding a common saying, I wondered what else could happen! What about a habitat from a single word, a specific problem, a specific goal. Where could my energy mind lead me?


"What would you create a habitat for?"

Kelly Burch, 2012

  by Kelly Burch
"So much to explore, so much to create, so much infinite time to do it all in Project Sanctuary."Β Barbara Saph

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