GREENFIELD - The key to understanding problems we face in our life may be hiding in our past, says Trish Casimira.
"We're being driven by our existence in our lives, but also by the karmic influences in all our other lives," she says.
Casimira, who has been a certified hypnotherapist for the past 15 years, specializes in tapping into the past lives and between lives that people's souls have inhabited. She lives in Wendell and has a practice in downtown Greenfield.
She believes in reincarnation, that everybody's soul has inhabited previous bodies and will inhabit others as well.
"The impetus for seeking out past life regression is to understand better what's going in our current life."
On Nov. 29, she will be the featured reader at All Small Caps at Deja Brew in Wendell, where she'll be reading her poetry. "I've been writing for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I just hear the first line and I sit down and meditate and then I let the poem come out of me." The inspiration for a poem could be heartache, a deeply spiritual experience or other things, she said. "I think life is poetic."
Casimira will also be signing and selling copies of "Memories of the Afterlife," which she helped Michael Newton, who taught her hypnotherapy, edit. It's a collection of 32 stories from around the world about how memories from the after life had an impact on the current life. She's also made a CD designed to help relieve stress, create inner peace, and ultimately get rid of unwanted habits.
People come to her if they're trying to break a bad habit, like smoking or to get help losing weight, Casimira said.
"We all have the tools (to change) within, but our minds are cluttered with the details of life."
Her work also attracts those with relationship problems, like trying to recover from a bad breakup as well as "people asking, 'Why I'm here? What is the purpose of my life?'" she said.
"People tend to come to me when they're having a soul crisis, or what's called a darkness of the soul.
"When you come to a place in your life when you know something needs to change, that you know is a deep issue, that has many layers to it, you tend to seek a spiritual-based therapy. Hypnosis allows you to get behind all the stuff you already know and find out what else is going on."
Issues like chronic pain, chronic sadness or a breakup that you're not able to get over, Casimira said.
For example, someone may come complaining he or she doesn't seem to be having any success in relationships. After hypnosis, that person may find that in one of his or her past lives he or she was a heartbreaker, Casimira said.
It's part of the soul learning a lesson, she said.
Each life is a chance for the soul to learn a different lesson, Casimira said. "You have to learn different lessons at each level before your soul can evolve to the next level. And sometimes the lessons are difficult.
"The good news is if you believe in reincarnation, this life is just a blink of the eye.
"Every single life isn't hard work. Sometimes you're just here to relax and be loving."
To hypnotize a client, Casimira has them close their eyes and follow a natural breathing pattern. "My job as a hypnotist is to then talk to them and use word paths and phrases that allow the mind to relax.
"I tell my clients hypnosis is not something you can do. It's something you let happen, like floating or falling asleep. If you try to fall asleep, it makes it hard. The same is true of hypnosis.
"My job is to help people fall into a relaxed state where they can access a very inner part of their mind and we travel back into their memories."
She says those memories stretch back to past lives one's soul has inhabited as well as in between lives, which is where a soul goes when it is in between inhabiting a body.
In these in-between lives, the soul meets with its group of elders and makes plans for their next life, she said. Casimira helps people return to this place where one asks questions of the council of elders, wise beings that no longer incarnate, about what their purpose is in this life, Casimira said.
"I got into hypnosis literally by accident," said Casimira.
She was living on Cape Cod and commuting to University of Massachusetts at Boston to become a psychologist and got in a car crash, which injured her neck.
Because Casimira was driving so much, she couldn't take pain medicines. A friend suggested she try hypnosis. "I found out I was a natural at it. So I took year off grad school to heal." She opened up her own hypnotherapy practice and never went back to grad school.
"I found hypnosis helped people pretty quickly. I was interested in really helping people empower themselves and make changes really quickly."
Casimira said she decided to focus her hypnotherapy practice on past lives and between lives because she wanted to help people get at the root causes of their issues.
Casimira said she is also influenced by her Cherokee heritage. "It's blood that's closest to me and the way of life I really follow," she said.
In particular, she said she's drawn to Native American cultures' emphasis on honoring the earth and on the connection between the earth and the soul, Casimira said. "I blend my knowledge of hypnosis and shaman work and my knowledge of psychology to help people really get to the core of where they really need to find healing."
Casimira first came to Wendell to visit a friend. She started doing hypnotherapy and started to visit regularly. "I found that there was a pretty high level of people interested in their soul journey and the evolution of their souls." So she decided to move to Wendell for good.
For more information, phone her at 772-0023 or visit her website www.lifebetweenlivesma.com.