Transforming Despair ❤️✨

What is despair and how do we work with energy to transform it?
In this powerful story of transforming despair through the power of energy medicine, Lou interviews one of the Council of Elders, Lisa Jacenich, who shares with you: 1. What happened 2. What it was like before energy medicine 3. What is it like now after energy medicine? This is an excerpt from the book ‘The Power of Energy Medicine.’

Lou: Lisa I would love for you to share a significant life experience where you worked with energy medicine to transform your life? 

Lisa: Lou I remember I had been crying for days on end, unable to sleep or function in any real sense of the word. I located an in-patient psychiatric hospital within three miles of my home. I walked in off the street and asked for a room as if it were a hotel. The desk clerk looked at me quizzically, pointed to a chair and said, “Have a seat”. This isn’t how a normal admission would’ve occurred and after sitting in the waiting room for what seemed like an eternity (still sobbing), I asked, “Is this delay to lead me to believe I won’t be admitted today?” The smile and head nod affirmed my statement.

A sound escaped my throat that I didn’t think could be made by a human.

A sound I would describe as if a wolf had been stabbed in its heart. A very loud, primordial sound that graphically expressed my despair and depletion. At some level, I knew that if they sent me away, if I had to walk out the door, that took such immense courage to walk in, chances were, that my life would end, as I had no life force left. I was admitted that day and was in residence for three weeks on the psychiatric ward. When I left the hospital, my nightmare got worse. All my life I had been trained ‘not to feel’ and in the hospital, the entire focus was on ‘feelings’.

Alone in my house, I became flooded with sensations and emotions. Confusion is an understatement, lonely beyond comprehension, existential crisis to the one-hundredth power, anger, fear, suffering on an epic scale. At some level, I knew I needed to be comforted, held, soothed, rocked. The inner child needed a loving parent to hold her in her arms. My mother lived five hours away and wanted to come to help me the minute I told her I was in hospital. I realised my mother was one of my biggest triggers and firmly told her not to come. My marriage had just ended, so my husband wasn’t a candidate.

One ‘best friend’ refused to bring warm clothes and a blanket to the hospital because she was busy, and my other ‘friend’ didn’t offer to drive me to the hospital when I told her I’d be driving over to admit myself the next morning. The neighbours weren’t on close enough terms that I could politely ask them to hug me and rock me like a baby.

   I had never felt more ALONE in my life and yet I knew I needed to be held.   

Several days later I went for a walk at my local park. I had to get outside even though I could barely get out of bed. As I walked this neighbourhood park, I saw a huge, dry earthen crevasse that had formed from the big rains we had received about a week before. I looked at this ‘V’ shape in the ground and noticed that it was big enough for me to lay down inside. With a flash of inspiration, I thought, “Of course, what could be more appropriate than to ask Mother Earth to hold me, to heal me, to help me, to embrace me”.

As I laid in the earthen womb, words started to form in my head, calming, soothing words as if Gaia were speaking to me, through me: It’s OK sweet girl, you’re going to be OK, better than OK, this is all going to work out, to be better than you can even imagine. I’m here for you sweet girl, I got your back! Being held by the earth was the first of many ‘energy medicines’ I would receive benefit from, on my path of transformation and transcendence.

Lou: Lisa what was it like physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually before energy medicine?

Lisa: I grew up in a small coal-mining town, the middle child with four siblings, ten years younger than the oldest and ten years older than the youngest. If you asked anyone in our town, they would say we had the picture-perfect life; middle to upper-middleclass economically, my father served in the Navy during WWII, retired from the telephone company after thirty-five years, and was the owner of several small businesses.

My mother graduated from nursing school, owned a floral business from home until I was about six years old, and then continued to be a full-time mom as my younger sisters were born. My parents were involved in the community and multiple civic organisations. My paternal grandfather returned to Italy to serve in WW1 and married his childhood sweetheart before returning to America. The local Sons of Italy Lodge was named after him. My maternal grandparents owned a local grocery/butcher shop during the Depression.

   My siblings and I excelled academically.   

We worked to pay our own way to go to university. Behind closed doors, the day-to-day reality was much different. My father worked most of the time. I have very few memories of interacting with him. When I proudly showed him my most recent test score (ninety-eight) from school, his response was, “Where are the other two points?” My mother was dealing with multiple chronic physical/emotional ailments and was very overwhelmed.

Interactions within the family were very strained, volatile and chaotic with lots of yelling, screaming and slamming. Even as a toddler I was picking up on this ‘energy’, and can still clearly hear our neighbour asking, “What are you crying about today, Lisa?” As I grew older, I became the ‘class clown’ to stuff my feelings and hide my loneliness, sadness, anger and frustration.

In the seventh grade, during practice for a school play, my partner was to lock arms with me and flip me over his head. He let go when I was in the air and I came straight down on my head onto a concrete floor. I believe this was the first of several brain injuries I would receive. The teacher drove me home and explained to my mom what had happened. Mum said, “Thanks for bringing her.” No doctors, no examinations, no brain scans…

  Just kept rolling.   

Following high school, I continued to work at Sears Roebuck and attended Pennsylvania State University (BA in Psychology). In the summer of my second year, the US Army recruiter found me. His proposal to go to ‘summer camp’ and earn more money than I was earning at Sears (plus the assurance that if I didn’t like it I could come home) was easy to accept! I was in the first group of women to train side-by-side with the men in Army boot camp.

Although none of us had enough emotional maturity to rally together, we sensed we were carrying the weight of all women and found courage and strength to live through the emotional and physical torture, as everyone else was out to prove we didn’t have what it took. Every woman successfully completed boot camp, while 25% of our male counterparts dropped out. I returned to finish my degree and was honoured as a distinguished military graduate before heading off to active duty as a medical service corps officer.

It was during a field exercise at Officer basic training that I incurred another major injury, resulting from an uncontrolled fall, forty feet into a body of water. I swam out of the water and just kept going to the next rope obstacle. Many years later, seeking treatment for chronic back pain, the doctor reviewing the x-ray asked, “When did you break your back?” I looked at him quizzically, not understanding his question.

   How could I not know that I broke a vertebra?   

During active duty (1980s) I was stationed in Europe. Nothing prepared me to be stationed overseas (geographically less than a day’s drive to the Russian border) during the height of the Cold War. With terrorist attacks rampant and a military organisation torturing females and unwilling to accept women in leadership positions, I came to believe the slogan, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It wasn’t that I became stronger, it was that my capacity to ‘not feel’ became even greater.

I met my first husband just as I finished active duty. My ‘familiar’ was so comfortable that every warning sign that this was not a healthy relationship went unheeded. We were living in West Germany. He had been stationed with the US Army and married a local national and had a son. He worked for minimum wage for a firm that supplied the army retail establishments with products. I spent my entire savings to get us an apartment, furnish it and get a car.

Despite all my credentials, I was in a catch 22. I wasn’t a ‘local national’ and didn’t have a work permit, I wasn’t a family member of a US civilian/active-duty member, so I wasn’t eligible to apply for most of the positions with the US military. It took almost a year to find employment. Months went by when there wasn’t enough money to buy food. I reached an unhealthy weight. When you are hungry, every ounce of energy is focused on survival, emotional volatility, turmoil, and depression were ‘understandable and reasonable’ and chronic physical pain and spiritual pursuits were not my priority.

   I kept the circumstances from my parents and did not reach out to them for help.

During one of only a few serious talks I ever had with my father, he ‘warned’ me it wasn’t a good idea to be involved with a man who had an ex-wife and a son. Perhaps my internal motivation ‘to make the relationship work’ was because I felt I had to ‘prove I was right’ to my father. Two years later we married in my parents’ church. We lived in Germany for another two years, miraculously I found a position and was teaching government contracting for the US morale, welfare, and recreation department.

During that assignment, facing insurmountable odds and with an unattainable deadline, I developed an eighty-hour curriculum that was so phenomenal that the folks from Headquarters in Washington, DC came to experience it for themselves. They offered me a job that gave us the financial ability to move back to the US. Over the next five years I continued to build my house of cards on the foundation I had been taught: go to college, serve your country, get a great job, get married, buy a house, work hard, prove yourself.

My professional life flourished. I left government service and was employed at a prestigious private firm as a corporate consultant and trainer for multiple government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. I earned the position of Adjunct Faculty of George Washington University. I was travelling approximately one hundred and seventy-five days a year within the US and internationally, presenting the corporate programs and consulting.

   By all outward appearances, I was living the American Dream.    

I was married, drove a nice car, owned a beautiful single family home on one-quarter acre inside the Washington, DC beltway. Behind closed doors, the picture-perfect life was not so perfect. When I wasn’t teaching or consulting, I was preparing to teach or to consult, digesting volumes of regulations and documents week after week to customise for each client. Travel also took up a large chunk of time, as well as the stress of commuter traffic in the DC area, if I was teaching locally. If I wasn’t teaching or preparing to teach, I was in bed.

I was supporting our household financially. My husband had started an owner/operator landscaping business that was just getting off the ground. Interactions with my husband were very strained, volatile and chaotic with lots of yelling, screaming, and slamming, interspersed with some good times. He enjoyed hanging out at the local bars in the evenings as I lay in bed and stared at the TV, constantly changing channels. It was 7am on a June morning in 1994 while I was in California when my husband informed me that he no longer wanted to be married.

I was raised Catholic and believed the words, “till death do us part”, even though our years together would be categorised as abusive on multiple levels. When I arrived home several days later, he didn’t want to talk about it. Eventually, he shared that he was having an affair and wanted to be with her. Within a day or so while at our friend’s home, the TV news cameras were following the police chasing NFL player, OJ Simpson, suspected in the murder of his former wife.

  That same day I found a machete in the shower.   

I realised on the way home that night, I could be in mortal danger. I convinced him to join me at the church down the street and we sat in the room of perpetual adoration for many hours. The next day I picked up a copy of Mary Ann Williamson’s book, ‘Return to Love’, and was using it to guide my thoughts out of any reactivity. Choosing to stay in my heart and not allow my ego, patterning, and imprinting to shape my words, actions, and deeds…. knowing that any escalation I contributed to, could result in my physical harm.

I realised every thought, action and feeling was contributing to my state of being as well as his. Emotional reactions were ‘automatic’ and although I could in moments see that my reactivity was over the top, I would justify it by remembering every infraction and just kept upping the cortisol. At this point, however, my life was at stake so I decided to “stuff” it. I managed to get him to agree to check himself into an alcohol rehab facility. Several days before he was to leave, he brought home a dog, said it was his girlfriend’s dog and she was going out of town, so he promised to watch the dog. Some part of me knew this was whacked, but I couldn’t take it out on a dog.

An opening came up and he went to a rehab facility the next day and I was dog-sitting his mistress’ dog. I believed that if we could get the alcohol in check… we could mend the emotional wounds that we had inflicted on each other. I really loved him and wanted us to find our way to being content with ourselves and each other. I spent many sleepless nights and cried for days on end.

   My house of cards had just come tumbling down.   

My girlfriend recommended I see her therapist and I made an appointment. When I arrived at the therapist’s office, I started by saying; I think I should be checked in somewhere, and I’d like to know what you think. At the end of the hour, she agreed, saying she would have to coordinate with a psychiatrist who had the authority to admit me. Two days later she called my home at 8 pm and asked if everything was alright. I replied, “No”. She said to go to the facility and not wait for the doctor to admit me. That night I arranged for another dog sitter and the next morning I took the garbage out and drove myself to the hospital three miles away.

I was in total confusion. It felt like I had been dropped off on another planet. Everything up to that moment had defined me, was no longer. I did not return to work. It was as if I were a raw nerve, unable to relate to the world as I had previously known it to exist. About a week after coming home from the hospital, I bolted upright from a deep sleep, saying out loud, “Lord I AM worthy to receive you”! My healing journey began as something deep inside me and I began to understand that ‘I am worthy!’ I started to ask the questions: “What the F*#k?” “Who am I?” “Why am I here?”

About a month later, I found my way to a weekend of ceremonies including a sweat lodge with a native American Cherokee shaman. This was my first experience of ‘energy medicine’. During the ceremonies, some vivid memories came to me that explained some of my deep wounds from my formative years. I experienced visions during the sweat lodge. On the third day, I had a transcendent experience with a winged creature as I packed up my campsite.

With no way to process or integrate what had transpired,

I quickly lapsed into my old programming. A few weeks later a classified advertisement came to my attention to ‘learn Cherokee ceremonies’. I thought, “why not?” The acts of ceremony and ritual (learned over the next two years) gave me great comfort and I continue to use them to this day. My search for peace continued: everywhere, anywhere for answers. Some nine months later I came across a poster for an event “Re-Creating Stonehenge” sponsored by a newly created earth-based religious group. I packed up my camping gear and a lot of food to help pave the way to make new friends.

The first person I met upon entering the land that day would be my spiritual partner, and my greatest teacher. Jim Jacenich was standing there when I arrived. I asked if he would like an orange. He tells the story, that when I approached, he saw a Goddess bearing fruit! The weekend was transformative…. seeing the world in a whole new way, through the eyes of an earth-based religion and helping to raise the Circle of Standing Stones (two years later, Jim and I would jump the broom amidst those stones!)

I continued the conventional psychological/medical path including cognitive behaviour therapy and an ever-changing cocktail of pharmaceuticals… each with its own set of unbearable side effects. I quickly caught on that telling my victim story over and over was not helpful (only later learning the neuroscience behind my conclusion – fire and wire – keeping the neuropathways engrained for reactivity). I would use each session to ask, “here’s what happened, how could I have done this better?”

  I didn’t even know how to construct emotionally intelligent sentences!   

Suicidal thoughts continued to dominate my existence. Jim had the courage and the strength to support me through all this. He would always say, “Lisa, I knew you would come back to me!” His gentle compassion, wrapping me in the comfort of his arms, kept me from harming myself so many times.

Lou: Lisa what is it like now physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually after energy medicine?

Lisa: Lou the city was more than my fragile nervous system could bear and Jim and I decided to move to Highland County, a rural area in the mountains of Virginia with the intention of ‘becoming artists’ not knowing what that even meant. I began to play for the first time in my life. Painting, clay, papermaking, collage, sculpture, and then one magic day about seven months after moving to the least populated county east of the Mississippi with more sheep than people, I asked, where does the wool go?

I had heard the word felting but didn’t know much. Some local spinners and I decided to try it and create a banner for our newly forming fibre guild. I became entranced with felting, taking the raw fibres of sheep’s wool, adding water, soap, and agitation, and making them into a stable cloth. I could paint with wool. This became my salvation. It was a soothing, tactile meditation and direct co-creation with nature.

   I could ‘lose myself’ for hours and find solace in my creations.   

Despite debilitating depression and side effects, my need to prove myself as ‘good enough’ was unwavering. This ‘hobby’ became my business: Artful Gifts LLC (Limited Liability Company). Production, sales, business, and project management kept enough to-dos on the table to keep me occupied and distracted. The next few years are somewhat of a blur, more than likely induced by the veiled effects of the psychopharmaceutical experiment ‘called me’ to find the magic cocktail to end my suffering.

My underlying need to ‘prove I exist’, ‘good enough’ etc., allowed me to continue to accomplish a lot! My artistry manifested in many media and I sold products at our county’s annual Maple Festival. I wrote and received a grant to fund an art program for the local school when budget cuts eliminated the art teacher’s position. I taught art the next year. A part-time position that almost put me back in the hospital.

We bought a house and I found rental space to create a fibre studio. Jim and I would take our handmade products to craft shows and ultimately to New York City. At one of the maple festivals, a serendipitous meeting put my ‘mechanised felt making expertise’ in the awareness of the Mongolian Government whose labour department representative collaborated with me for one year to design mechanised co-ops for the remote villages in Mongolia.

   In 2008 both my parents transitioned within six months of each other.   

In 2009 I decided that prescriptions were not the answer. Once the pharmaceuticals were gone, however, my deep depression continued. Meditation I Vipassana I Transcendental Meditation: A life-changing event for me was a ten-day silent meditation retreat. It was the first time I had nothing but my own thoughts to listen to for ten days! It wasn’t pretty.

Day two, I stood looking at the road out. I could easily drive off the property. I realised the teachings were telling me, if I keep going with the work, I can reach peace. I could also curl up in a ball and give up. I also had agency to take my own life, which was a pervasive thought up to this point and beyond. I decided to stay. I had come to find solace in my work with the fibres of the sheep’s wool.

Eventually, the rigours of the act of making textiles from the loose fibres of the wool, exacerbated an old spine and neck injury. As the days spread to weeks, when I couldn’t even lift my arm and I was unable to escape through the fibres, my desperation consumed me again. Spiritism: I became aware of the Spiritist, John of God. I went to the small village of Abadiania, Brazil to be healed. Within months I was physically fully functional… although the depression had not left me.

Anger & rage had deep grooves in my neural pathways and the suffering continued.

We would experience the healings of John of God twice; once in upstate New York and another in Toronto, Canada. Our life’s savings were embezzled by our trusted financial advisor. I continued to drag myself out of bed every day to lose myself in the fibres…… My seeking of answers to end my suffering also continued. By 2013 my suffering had reached another peak and I was put into a residential program based on (DBT) Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. This introduced me to concepts that have been the cornerstone of my healing. Neuroplasticity and Radical Acceptance Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form and reorganise synaptic connections.

Science has shown that I am not a victim to my thoughts, my feelings, my reactions. Radical acceptance was reinforcing what I learned in Vipassana (all suffering is created by craving or aversion). This was a breakthrough in shifting the underlying mental concepts that I had. Jim and I decided to move to Staunton, Virginia to put me closer to the group therapy that followed my release. We found an apartment and a studio with retail space just fifteen minutes from the therapy. The move was very good for me on so many levels. I hadn’t realised just how stifled I was living in a remote town. Everything from the way I dressed and spoke, to my desire to hug people, was criticised.

   This new environment allowed me to feel freer to express myself.   

Jim was working nights and I was running the shop and studio. In the evenings I began self-study courses to help deal with the thoughts and feelings, now that I was aware they could be changed. The list of self-study programs, retreats and energy modalities is about four pages long. EMDR (eye movement desensitisation reprocessing) It was new at the time. I had a few sessions, but the results were not significant enough to keep me coming back. I was also introduced to biofeedback sessions to treat my migraine headaches (approximately fifteen per month, many years later a naturopath discovered it was food sensitivities that were causing the headaches).

This was the first time I realised that my thoughts could make that needle on the screen do things! I am now certified in HeartMath Institute’s technology focusing on HRV (heart rate variability) technology to create heart-brain coherence. Psych-K, also referred to as kinesiology, and a trip focused on ‘Shadow work’ in the cenotes of the Yucatan peninsula were very helpful in tapping into my subconscious. But it wasn’t sustainable (especially without a practitioner). I was still looking, knowing that the answers had to come from inside me. I acknowledge that everything combined led to a new quality of life.

I realise that like a flower you can’t tear off the outer leaves and expect to find the beauty within. Everything unfolds in its natural course. But it wasn’t until I came upon the work of Dr Joe Dispenza that I finally saw a significant change in me. Eventually, Jim even noticed how different I was, how much better I was doing. I began his course of study online and attended seven-day advanced retreats.

   It was as if a heavy oilskin cloth had been removed from my being.   

I was aware of more and more minutes every day of joy and peace, playfulness and satisfaction. It was like someone turned on the lights inside me. I was introduced to the concept of becoming comfortable with the unknown. My satisfaction with my shop and studio had significantly decreased. It got to the point where I wasn’t creating for the sake of creating, but rather making what I knew would sell so I could pay the rent. I knew something was shifting, I didn’t know what or how and I was OK with that.

Soon after, an announcement came out for applicants to teach Dr Joe’s work as a corporate consultant. It is a topic I’m passionate about and puts to use my many years of experience with corporate training and consulting. Of six hundred applicants, thirty-seven of us were chosen and I joined one hundred and thirty-five people across the globe who are certified to teach this cutting edge, science-based program that gives the tools needed for a sustainable change!

As I turned my career focus to teaching the ‘how-to’ of change, new doors opened for me. I was invited to be on a Department of Defense task force, created by integrative and functional medicine doctors and clinicians, industry SMART technology representatives, Department of Defense and Veterans Administration program directors, all focused on the whole health approach to optimise wellness…. all of us focused on ‘serving those who serve’. I am honoured and privileged to represent my expertise in the mind/body connection and strategise with the most brilliant, creative, and resourceful humans that care deeply about everyone’s inherent right to wellness. Because of my participation, I met and was treated by the developer and (myofascial practitioner) of an amazing advancement in frequency-specific micro currents.

   The physical pain I was experiencing had become my familiar.    

Many years before surgery had been ruled out because the surgeons determined that I ‘wasn’t in enough pain’ to justify the potential outcomes of surgery. I was at a level ten pain every day. As my awareness became more acute, I realised, “I don’t have to live in pain!” and voila I have greatly reduced the level of pain (most moments of each day I am pain-free). I participate in sound baths study and practice kundalini mantras and kriyas.

As my connection to ‘All that is’ continues to unfold, my embodiment of connection and wholeness shifts consistently to earth-based solutions. I believe that as a consciousness having a human experience I also become a vehicle for other types of consciousness (plants, rocks, earth, water), to live symbiotically and experience consciousness through me as well as provide nutrients, supplements, and healing. I enjoy earthing, walking barefoot, and spending extended time in nature, laying on the earth. If I am experiencing pain, a few minutes flat on the earth is usually enough to get me back to wellness.

The serendipitous events that led me to find Lou Reed and the Council of Elders is another of the complex mysteries that don’t need to be fully understood to enjoy the outcome! The combination of neuroscience and indigenous ceremonial practices is intriguing. The unique processes help me to uncover messages from my subconscious and give me pause for self-inquiry and contemplation. The loving and supportive environment swaddles me in safety and trust – key elements for all trauma thrivers!


What is the emotion despair and how can we work with energy to transform it? Despair is the complete loss of hope; it is a very intense emotion. The feeling can be described as a mix of misery, discouraged, agony and distress. This emotion is often associated with suicidal thoughts. It is the feeling that something is profoundly wrong and will not change for the better EVER. Despair is one of the most negative and destructive human emotions.

   Despair often shows up in our lives after a significant loss.   

It tends to be the main emotion people feel after a sudden traumatic experience, which is normal, but when we stay in the emotion too long, it can lead to irrational decision-making in the heat of the moment. When we drop into despair we have an influx in our cortisol levels which causes our amygdala to enlarge. This is a part of the brain associated with emotional responses. When it becomes larger and more active, it causes sleep disturbances, change in activity levels and changes in other hormones.

If you or your loved one has been challenged by despair, I invite you to head over to our FREE betrayal energy process and experience the power of energy medicine.

Energy Medicine has the power to transform all areas of your life! It is the new healing paradigm.

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Blessed Be
Lou Reed, Energy Shaman
Founder, Energy Medicine Institute

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