Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book of the Day-The Autobiography of an Infant by Jeffrey Von Glahn

The Autobiography Of An Infant by Jeffrey Von Glahn 
Author's Note:
My experience as Jessica’s therapist (Jessica: The autobiography of an infanthttp://www.amazon.com/Jessica-autobiography-Jeffrey-Von-Glahn/dp/0595364292 ) was, overall, a totally mesmerizing experience, and one that I would without a second’s hesitation do again even though it occupied untold hours, as well as many years of my life if one includes writing the book, which took about 20 years. What I was most struck by, and what made the most lasting impression on me, was how Jessica’s infant mind compared to my adult mind, and with all the other so-called developed minds I had come to know. As Jessica described more and more of her very early experiences, and in such minute detail, I became more and more envious at how her mind operated during those earliest days of her life. She was so curious, so interested, so fascinated, so eager, and so sensitive to what was happening around her. She was so eager to be a part of that “big, working thing.”

Jessica had always been haunted by the fear that the unthinkable had happened when she had been “made-up.” For as far back as she could remember, she had no sense of a Self. Her mother thought of her as the “perfect infant” because “she never wanted anything and she never needed anything.” As a child, just thinking of saying “I need” or “I want” left her feeling like an empty shell and that her mind was about to spin out of control. Terrified of who––or what––she was, she lived in constant dread over being found guilty of impersonating a human being.

Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D., an experienced therapist with an unshakable belief in the healing powers of the human spirit, and Jessica blaze a trail into this unexplored territory. As if she has, in fact, become an infant again, Jessica remembers in extraordinary detail events from the earliest days of her life––events that threatened to twist her embryonic humanness from its natural course of development. Her recollections are like listening to an infant who could talk describe every psychologically dramatic moment of its life as it was happening.
When Dr. Von Glahn met Jessica, she was 23. Everyone regarded her as a responsible, caring person – except that she never drove and she stayed at her mother’s when her husband worked nights. 

For many months, Jessica’s therapy was stuck in an impasse. Dr. Von Glahn had absolutely no idea that she was so terrified over simply talking about herself. In hopes of breakthrough, she boldly asked for four hours of therapy a day, for three days a week, for six weeks. The mystery that was Jessica cracked open in dramatic fashion, and in a way that Dr. Von Glahn could never have imagined. Then she asked for four days a week – and for however long it took. In the following months, her electrifying journey into her mystifying past brought her ever closer to a final confrontation with the events that had threatened to forever strip her of her basic humanness.

Jeffrey Von Glahn
*Twitter:  @JeffreyVonGlahn

A Short Excerpt:

Until I watched Jessica (Jessica: The autobiography of an infant) remember her birth, I was as much of a non-believer as everyone else. It just didn’t seem humanly possible. To be convinced that it is, you either have to experience it yourself or watch someone you know do so.
Jessica’s remembrance of her birth began just like the others, with her talking about an upsetting feeling she found herself experiencing at the moment and not, at least at first, related to any memory.
Her immediate feeling on this day was “Something feels real dead and unimportant in me.” Her confident expression intimated that more would quickly follow. However, for the next 30 or so seconds she just stared over my shoulder at the window behind me.
Since Jessica had already remembered a few infant experiences in the past month or two, I thought that a direct “When did you first feel dead?’ was worth a try.
She had an immediate reply, and in the same confident tone: “I’ve always felt dead.” This was followed a few moments later by, “I was thinking about that earlier.”
“I remember ‘thinking’ before I was born about everything that was going to happen. I was going to be born so that somebody could love and touch me, so I could be enough, so I could be a part of a big, working thing, and I could have an effect on the world.”
I was mesmerized. I stayed in that state for the next 45 minutes, without saying a word the whole time.
Jessica went on to explain that the first few minutes of her actually being in the world had been so hectic that a part of her must have gotten “screwed up within minutes.”
When the top of her head appeared, she was pushed back in, turned over, and hurriedly pulled out – and with everyone totally unaware that she was trying to do her part in getting herself born.
While all this was going on, her mother was screaming over her body tearing and blood squirting about. The doctor barked urgent commands and all on the medical team scurried about.
The nurses handled her body like a rag doll and they joked with each other while they absentmindedly cleaned her up. And most importantly, no one looked directly into her eyes and welcomed her into the world.
Throughout all this, Jessica’s voice was vibrant and her words electrifying. Her face, her posture, her tone of voice radiated whatever emotion she was experiencing – excitement, hope, indignation, disappointment, joy, and even at one point, laughter.
At the end, she reflected on all she had remembered: “If visitors came to this planet, they’d leave and wonder how we got to be human beings. That’s exactly what I ‘thought’ when I first got here. How did anyone survive? I didn’t know how I’d survive. They were all screwy! That’s why you look so good. Because you’re not as screwy!”

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