Published in the Monterey Herald
LEARNING TO SEE WITH NEW EYES
by Jerry Gervase
I knew Clarissa Le’Ashland was a helper. I learned she is a healer.
Clarissa helped me through a difficult time. She found a home for clothes I no longer needed. Almost two months passed before I saw her again. I wondered where the clothes went and whether or not there was a column in it. Just as that thought entered my mind the telephone rang. It was Clarissa. Such coincidences are not unusual for her.
“What do you do when you’re not dressing the semi-clad,” I asked when she had picked up the clothes.
“I teach Transitional Awareness,” she said.
“What’s that? I asked.
“You’ll have to find out now, won’t you,” she replied, playing the enigma card. The mystery in her voice matched her secret smile as she drove off leaving me standing there holding a whodunit novel with the last chapter missing.
Now, here she was, again, telling me I am on her mind at almost the moment she is on mine. So we met for coffee the next day. Clarissa Le’Ashland combines Southern charm with the strength of mind of a steel magnolia. Had she been running Tara those damn Yankees would never have stolen all of Scarlett’s property. She would have either charmed them out of their sabres, or with a slight widening of her crystal blue eyes, sent them running off whistling Dixie.
I had my notebook ready to jot down information I could use in a column. We talked for seven hours. When we parted I had not written down a single word. I knew I had met someone completely in touch with her spirit and was at peace with the world. She possessed a clarity of purpose I had rarely seen.
“Transitional Awareness,” she explained, “is a learning experience addressing all of life as change. Have you ever wondered what your next career move is. Or what is your life’s purpose?”
“Or who I am,” I asked.
“Oh yes,” Clarissa said, “and don’t forget What do I do now? I address these issues in a unique way.” Her voice rose slightly at the end of that last sentence moving from statement of fact to invitation.
Several days later I was in her “house of light” high above mid-valley. Light poured in from circular windows opening on to a spectacular view that made Tara look like the wrong side of the tracks. Clarissa had me sitting in a chair across from a video camera.
“I’m going to take some pictures of you she said. You are going to see what the mirror never tells. It will be interesting to see who shows up.” There was the enigma card again. Somehow I knew my ace of doubt would not hold up against cool hand Clarissa.
“Try to maintain as neutral an expression as you can,” she instructed as she began recording. When finished, she had me position my chair in front of a TV monitor.
“What do you see?” she asked.
My first thought was that she had somehow substituted someone else to sit in the chair while she was recording. The person on the screen looked like me but was wearing a face not even Forrest Gump could love. Sad eyes with enough puffiness to float the Titanic stared out at me. One side of my face drooped from the baggage it carried and my brow so furrowed Clarissa could have registered me with the AKA as a Shar Pei.
“That’s not the face I see in the mirror,” I said.
“That’s because it’s unmasked,” she said, "the mask drops the instant you look in the mirror. I use extremely high resolution film so I can zero in with a high degree of intensity and subtlety to get an actual visual image of the person I’m filming. You are seeing yourself objectively, perhaps for the first time, so it seems as if you’re looking at someone else.”
“How do I make that person go away?”
“By answering this question: What do you want?”
For the next three hours, we went on a personal journey of self-discovery through Transitional Awareness. Clarissa interrupted me when I tried to analyze or justify behavior. She guided me through the complex maze I saw in the face on the screen. She explained how my appearance reflected what was hidden from my conscious awareness. She called this time a Discovery Session because we were looking at whatever I wanted to address or discover.
We were using simple awareness to learn to see with new eyes. Clarissa had me revisit the arena of curiosity about myself, a place I had not been to since I discovered I had ten toes and my own belly button. Basically we were making an end run around the mind’s information-based system to heighten my awareness using renewed focus, strength, and vitality.
The session ended the way it began – I sat in the chair facing the camera - maintaining a neutral expression. Clarissa recorded me for a few minutes then had me face the TV screen to see the new pictures.
Once again, I thought she switched me out. I saw dramatic facial and body changes. No baggage - and no Shar Pei.
“You look different because your brain and heart are aligned with your desires and dreams,” she said, “the camera doesn’t lie.”
I asked her if the changes would continue.
“Of course,” she answered, “now you have the tools to create positive change and to expand your life and relationships.”
Well, if you’ve read this far without calling the Home to tell them I’ve managed to find my way out of the jacket with the extra long sleeves, you’re probably wondering if the changes continued. Turn the page back and look at my picture. Doesn’t that fellow look integrated and balanced? Wouldn’t you say he has the cool, clear eye of a seeker of wisdom and truth?
By the way, Clarissa works with individuals and small groups, as well as conducting seminars. If you are at a place in your life where you’re asking yourself: What do I do now? – you may want to visit her studio. It will be interesting to see who shows up. You can reach her at 831-626-7557.
©by Jerry Gervase