Pink Patsy The Arthritis Cat (1993)
by Silvia Hartmann
Well, how's that for a title?
Pink Patsy is a pattern which is applicable to very long standing problems of all kinds; at it's outside edges it becomes extremely complicated and hard to track in consciousness, but the central point is easily grasped. I think it's probably a more important pattern than we have conceived of so far and invite you personally to both try it out as well as keep experimenting with various aspects of it. In the context of general Sanctuary interventions, it becomes highly relevant to any number of puzzles.
2. Introducing Patsy
We first met Patsy whilst talking to a lady who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis in her wrists and hands. This lady had partaken over the past 30odd years in any imaginable form of therapy to alleviate the intense pain this condition caused her - to put it into perspective, she said that her husband had to stop her on more than one occasion, because she was actually trying to cut off her own hands to stop the pain.
In spite of being a deeply convinced holistic practitioner and healer, she had to resort to steroid injects and strong pain killers to cope with the daily pain.
Being in the mind frame for a gift, I tuned in on the lady's hands lying still in her lap (as all movement was painful) and tried to think of a gift. What I got instead was the impression of a dense and powerful disturbance around her hands, starting at the wrists.
In the meantime, the lady, let's call her Pauline, is talking about "her arthritis" as though it is a living being: "My arthritis was very angry with me when I tried to scrub the kitchen floor ..." - "My arthritis doesn't like it when I eat cheese and so I avoid it .." - "It's been with me since I was a child ..." and so forth.
So I asked her, "So what is your arthritises name, then?" and she stopped short. Very confused and surprised, she said, "It's Patsy - what??"
"And what kind of being is Patsy?"
"It's a cat!"
"And what colour is it?"
At that point I started laughing because this was the formal entrance and introduction of Pink Patsy the Arthritis Cat in person.
As any therapist and probably most lay persons will know, from there you can go almost anywhere. You could have tapped on Patsy, you could have attempted to parts-integrate her, you could have evolved her, you could have initiate discussions with her - well, the choices were pretty limitless as to proceed and have Pauline come out of the session with much cheer and the feeling something most profound had been accomplished.
There was something else at work that went beyond such normal interventions, and that something caused Patsy to come back and back again, no matter how profound the insight or how wonderful the healing. Pauline had been seen by "the greats" over the past 30 years and Patsy was still with her in spite of all she had been through.
I considered the problem from all angles and then decided to get a little more into the relationship that existed between Pauline and Patsy and to investigate that instead.
It was a very interesting session and the following emerged strongly:
- 1. The arthritis had taken on "a life of its own" over the years.
It really was to all intents and purposes an entity in its own right by now, with intentions and outcomes, detached and opposed to the general Pauline, in a way that was way beyond the general parts model. You could think of Patsy as a spirit attachment (although I think that would be a mistaken thought), or even a form of demonic possession if you were operating out of that world view. Anyhow and whichever way you want to metaphorise the phenomenon, Patsy was there and was real enough for me to perceive as an entity separate from Pauline herself.*
*Now I am open to the possibility that I was just rapport reading what *Pauline* thought and partook in *her* reality of the situation, as opposed to the situation being real in the way described. But that is actually quite a mote point, because it was in Pauline's reality where the pain and daily dealings with Patsy occurred - i.e., her relationship with the arthritis.
- 2. This relationship was intense, extremely complex and organic.
Pauline's response to the arthritis went much beyond the actual incidences of pain.
There was the fear of pain in the future, memories of pain in the past, a great deal of anger, distrust and dislike; hatred too; strands of sincere gratitude (for the primary and secondary gain aspects); loyalty (they had been through two divorces and much bereavement, heartbreak and joy together, and, in fact, Pauline remarked how through all the ups and downs in her life, the only constant companion had always been "her arthritis"); and, and this is in my opinion the most important point, *power struggles* between them. That really is the clincher for me - how can you have a power struggle unless there are at least two of you of *equal* capabilities? (If you don't get that one, imagine attempting a power struggle with a goldfish).
- 3. The leverage point in the problem was in their relationship itself.
This is the central point of the Patsy pattern.
The problem was not in Pauline, and it wasn't in Patsy either, but in the relationship they had between them.
3. Relationship Counselling
There is a general therapy pattern which asks the question, "How do you feel ABOUT having this problem?"
This clearly also goes to the question as to what the relationship is between any given individual and their major problems and can open up all kinds of lines of enquiry.
The Patsy Pattern goes a whole big step further and suggests that the relationship IS the problem in the first place.
If this is the case, then interventions placed elsewhere cannot work in the long term.
Let's briefly look at some of the basics of relationship counselling.
The very first one is to stop appointing blame to the other/s involved, for this blocks true communication more than anything else.
In energetic exchange terms, draining energy from another part of a system (such as a family, or a neurology which would be the case with Pauline and Patsy) causes *the system as a whole to become more negative than it was before* and includes both the recipient/s as well as the sender/s.
With long standing relationships, these negative energetic exchanges become habitual negative feedback orbits that end in some kind of "blow out" - a mother might beat her screaming child, Patsy flares out the arthritis pain to screaming pitch, or Pauline threatens to cut off her wrists with a kitchen knife.
"Harmony Programme" devices obviously need to be employed to stop these feedback orbits in their tracks and to re-write the communication forms in existence.
4. General Observations On The Patsy Pattern
The following is a brief round up of the most important aspects to this pattern.
In general therapy and problem solving *within an individual* usually only two leverage points are utilised.
a. The Genesis Point
This is the moment when the problem "became". The reason I call it a genesis point is because this "coming into being" of the problem can happen in so many different ways - accidents, stupid little things happening, horrible life changing traumas, a simple mistake in the neurology, an overreaction, a post hypnotic suggestion - well you know, all the kinds of things that "cause" a problem.
Therapies that seek to discover "the root cause" are looking to target their intervention at that genesis point, which is hopefully stored somewhere in a person's neurology. Such interventions are extremely successful - *IF* the genesis point can be unearthed. That is the sticking point with targeting interventions there - it can be *extremely difficult* to find the genesis point and sometimes it might even be impossible.
b. The Symptoms
This is right over on the other side of the process and the place where most if not all allopathic interventions are targeted. As the symptom is the most important thing to the client (obviously), symptom removal targeting is a perfectly acceptable top level application for any therapy, and indeed, the symptoms ARE the feedback mechanism to check if the intervention was successful.
The only problem with this is that symptoms can not always be removed successfully (yet), and that there is a time aspect to symptoms. Is this a temporary solution? Will they come back? Will it be worse next time around? - These kinds of questions are always left nagging at the back of someone's awareness, even after the intervention might have been perfectly successful, and can in and of itself provide the seed for a new genesis point altogether!
- Now, the Patsy Pattern offers an alternative intervention target, which is the ongoing connection between the two above - i.e. the relationship that came into being at the same time as the genesis of the problem occurred.
c. The Relationship
You might wonder as you are reading this if it would be possible to change the system that exists between the sufferer and their illness if the sufferer was able to love their problem unconditionally, and I agree that this is certainly a thought that has crossed my mind and an exciting possibility for self healing.
More immediately helpful however might be the thought that by finding a new relationship between the individual and their problems it becomes immaterial both what the genesis of the problem was, who or what was responsible for it, and whether or not this will ever be healed at all in this life time.
There is such a lot of pressure to "sort things out" and to "there, there, all better now" which the holistic healing community has unwittingly inherited from the allopathically minded symptom removal orientated civilisation that surrounds us.
Our general relationship with the processes of life is something that might need radical reorganisation at some point, for in truth, we will all experience pain in some form or the other, we will all die, and there's no man in a white coat who will ever be able to make it "better".
5. When to call on Patsy
I think that targeting the intervention neither at the genesis point, nor at the symptom point, but at the relationship instead is a really good idea when:
- - The problem cannot be overcome, no matter what you do.
An example of this may be a physical injury such as the loss of a limb - all the Reiki in the world will not restore it, nor will any genesis intervention make it re-materialise (as yet).
- - There is a conception that there is no time left to affect a healing.
*Some* cancer patients, aids patients and other terminally ill people may consider to make peace with their illness. To focus on the relationship does not offer "false hope" and yet there is the chance at the back of the practitioner's or facilitators mind that a miracle may be initiated.
- - The individual *can not* let go of the problem.
These are the people, like Pauline who inspired the pattern, who simply can not let go of the problem for whatever reason and are completely resistant to symptom removal or genesis interventions.
- - Both Genesis and Symptom targeting has failed to produce a result.
This relationship pattern is a wonderful back up to rescue sessions, situations and circumstances with client interventions or problems oneself has been struggling with for a long period of time and where no resolution has been achieved as yet.
One of the interesting possibilities inherent in the Patsy Pattern is that it may change physical responses to general stimuli that in and of themselves are not a problem.
For example, and these are wonderful examples, most allergies are at the end of the day, a problem with the relationship to a particular substance.
People's bodies are much the same the world over, and yet some people respond with the most tremendous symptoms to such harmless things as strawberries, nuts and wheat.
These allergies can be treated successfully with hypnosis, NLP and energy/meridian therapies which deal with mind-body system logistics.
If one was to widen out the scope of things a little, we would get into other areas, such as, why chocolate "causes" some people to put on weight, and yet not others who may eat far more of the same substance, and who are walking around with genetically very similar bodies indeed.
What if treating the relationship all parts of the self have to a particular substance may have the power to render most if not all substances harmless and even benefitial?
Addicts and food addicts have very convoluted relationships to the object of their addictions which are not unlike Pauline's relationship with Patsy in their complexity and in their mixed messages.
7. The Spirit Of The Strawberry
As a Project Sanctuary intervention, it is an interesting exercise to call forth the spirit of what you have identified as "the enemy within" - i.e. any something that gives you the experience of unwanted symptoms.
Each thing has an essence and a life force of its own, made up of the sum of its parts and the total with is beyond the sum of it's parts.
In Sanctuary, you can converse, co-experience and begin to unravel your past, present and future relationships with the spirit of the thing.
If you have problems with this concept, try the following simple exercise.
Place a strawberry, or a carrot, or an apple on the work counter in your kitchen.
Next to it, place a vitamin tablet, or an aspirin, or something of that nature.
Now rest on your elbows and look closely at these two items. Tune into their personalities and consider your relationship to each in turn. Notice any internal sensations, thoughts, feelings or memories each one evokes as you are "relating" in consciousness.
You might like to go on to do this exercise with your favourite love-hates, whatever they may be in the substance department - alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, chocolate, ice-cream, salt, whatever "makes" you "fat", or "gives" you "indigestion" or "sleepless nights" or "insert symptom of your choice".
This is a pattern current to July 17th, 2000 and there is little feedback available as yet. If you would like to add your comments, please use the Contact Form.
"I heard about the Patsy thing at a meeting at Silvia's house. On the way home, I stopped off at the supermarket to get a few things. At the chiller cabinet, I became aware of a strong internal fight starting up relating to one of my best loved foods - blue cheese.
I love it but I know if I buy it I will eat it, and if I eat it, I immediately gain weight. I went over and confronted "the blue cheese", sitting all innocently on the shelf and it really was as though it was calling seductively to me. Dearie me! I *like* being seduced and teased! No wonder I can never go by that section without making a beeline and "giving into temptation" eventually. I'm going to get it out of the fridge tonight and talk to it, see if I can't ask it to stop making me fat. Wouldn't that be great if it worked?"
"As soon as I heard about Pauline's Patsy, I got to thinking of my own migraine. I've had it for years and this whole thing about it being an actual living being that I share a space with was just so - yeah, that's so right, that is exactly how it is for me as well. I thought of it as a kind of animal and it was a big lizard, his head right on top of my head, front feet and claws digging in at my left eye, and on the back of my neck. The back feet were digging painfully into my left shoulder, with the end of the tail digging in under my left shoulder blade - it fitted perfectly into all the points of pain I get. When I got to trying to get it off, it was really weird how I didn't want to on some level, and the lizard didn't want to either, and also, we were kind of grown together so pulling him off would be very painful to both of us. I'm going to try various things like finding out what he likes to eat, and if I can't get him to go sit on a rock in the sunshine instead. Very, very weird sensations and feelings but also very very interesting!"
* Feedback On Patsy - Current to November 28th, 2000.
I rang Patsy's owner this morning to see how she was getting on. The pain from the arthritis has not come back since her dual metaphor-relationship and energy tapping interventions. She can use the hand breaks on her bicycle easily which was impossible before and there have been no flare ups for the last 6 months, since she did her work with Patsy.