Interview with Cyndi Dale Part I – ADHD and Energetic Boundaries
I am so happy to present a two-part interview with author, energy healer, and intuitive Cyndi Dale. Cyndi is the author of the bestselling The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, as well as 14 other books – many of which I have listed on my various Booklists here! I have studied with Cyndi through her Apprenticeship program and have the utmost respect for her seeing and work. In the first part of this interview, we discuss ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Energetic Boundaries, while in the second part we discuss Autism Spectrum Disorder and Soul Groups.
Hi Cyndi, thanks so much for speaking with me on this topic. My idea for this interview arose when I read your Energetic Boundaries book. In that book you mention the subtle body patterns that you have observed over the years in children with ADHD and/or on the autism spectrum. I am often asked about this as well, and with a growing number of children being diagnosed with one or the other, I thought it would be great to share your ideas on this topic.
Perhaps you can first provide an overview of how you think of these conditions.
Thanks, Lisa I’m so happy to be talking with you on this topic, as it is impacting so many young people today. First off, both ADHD and autism are different learning issues. Some people call them ‘disorders’, but I prefer to call them ‘learning issues’, because it is really in comparison to how other people interact and learn that they are called disorders. ADHD and autism are distinctly separate, but they do have some things in common. I think it’s important to approach both of these distinctive syndromes from several points of view. There’s an energetic point of view, a physical point of view, and a spiritual point of view. To approach this subject in a well-rounded way, I think we need to look at them from all of these points of view.
That sounds great. So let’s start by discussing ADHD from an energetic perspective.
From an energetic perspective, which is really my specialty, when we look at ADHD we are dealing with some energetic anomalies as compared to those who do not have ADHD. First of all, when we are looking at energy anatomy we are looking at 3 different subtle body systems. We are looking at the meridians, which are the energetic pathways that flow chi, and information, through the body. We are looking at chakras, energy centers which are in the body but also around the body, and which accept, interpret, and disseminate energetic information. And then we are also looking at energy fields, which are the waves that oscillate from our chakras, plus our physical selves, and flow outside of us.
There really is no such thing as one ‘norm’. Even though we constantly discuss these systems as if everyone’s meridians or chakras are the same, they are not, because we are unique beings. Everything we go through in life, and some would also say past-lives, affects our energy anatomy.
In general however, in an individual with ADHD, we are looking at energetic fields that are letting in too much information of a certain type. The energetic information may be distorted, or shaped a certain way – however you want to think of it – to let in too much of what I call ‘third chakra energy.’
The third chakra is in the solar plexus, in the gut, usually seen as yellow, and there’s a front side and a back side. The front side takes in information from the everyday world, from people, animals, the world around us, and the back side brings in what we are not so conscious of, what some might call the subconscious, or what might come through past lives. So as you can guess, part of the reason I want to talk about the soul or spiritual aspect of ADHD is so that we can consider what might have been brought in by past lives. Or, what are these individuals picking up from the souls around them?
In general, what I believe happens with ADHD is that the individuals are picking up way too much data – mental information, emotions, etc. from other people – to the point where it is really a kind of systems overload. The ADHD person can’t tolerate it, and this results in the ‘hyperactive’ part of ADHD. You know psychologists don’t distinguish anymore between ADD and ADHD, it is all referred to as ADHD now, because there is always some level of hyperactivity present. There are different levels of hyperactivity, but it is always part of the picture.
I believe the hyperactivity is the result of all this data coming into the navel chakra and wiring them. These individuals are trying to get rid of this energy so they end up acting it out – they move around a lot, they shift their focus.
They are over-stimulated energetically.
Yes. There aren’t strong energetic boundaries in place, so outside energy is coming in and over-stimulating them, and they are moving around to try and get rid of it. And when you are doing this, if you are someone trying to rid yourself of this energy, you won’t necessarily be aware of everything else going on around you, you won’t respond in the way expected of you. This can lead to social problems, because social cues are missed.
It strikes me that this is easy to test to some extent. I think of my own children, who aren’t diagnosed as ADHD but are very high-energy and prone to getting over-stimulated, and how different they are when we travel to more remote areas, where there are fewer people, and less energetic data. It seems a parent of an ADHD child could really see a difference in their child when in less populated or less stimulated areas.
Yes exactly. They get worse if they are in crowds, or in many cases, school. ADHD kids often need a regular decompression time after school, because they come home so over-stimulated. They need to sit and shut down for a while. They often do well around animals, nature, and quiet surroundings because it counterbalances this over-stimulation. Their room needs to be a haven for them, with grounding energies and colors– earth tones and a soothing environment are critical. That’s a big part of helping an ADHD child manage this.
It’s also important to understand ADHD from a physical brain perspective. Some psychiatrists are advocating changing the name from ADHD to APD, Auditory Processing Deficiency, because this is what is going on in the brain – the two sides of the brain aren’t processing information at an equal pace. A lot of ADHD kids are processing a lot through their right brain, which is the creative brain, but their left brain, the logical, linear brain, can’t keep up.
So this brings us from the energetic to the physical perspective on ADHD. What is going on in the brain, and how does it intersect with the subtle body patterns?
Well it’s interesting because the third chakra is about mental processing, in addition to boundaries. So as I was saying, many of these kids are comparatively over-stimulated on the right brain side, the creative, intuitive side, but their logical, linear side can’t keep up. Tying this into the third chakra patterns we were talking about, these kids are getting so much energetic data, and it gets processed through their right brain more than their left brain. Their left brain can’t keep up.
From an energetic perspective, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with them. It’s just that one side can’t keep up with everything they are receiving. So we need to somehow help them shutdown or decrease what they are picking up through the front side of the third chakra, and processing in the right brain, to bring them back into balance – help them balance their right brain and their left brain. We can also bring in a lot of soothing energy through the back side of the chakras, to help calm them down as well.
It’s interesting, in the back side of the chakras, I feel many ADHD kids are a bit closed off here. When they are open, I feel they are often picking up on others’ soul issues, or on past-life traumas. So we often need to work to heal that stuff. They are really sensitive, psychic kids. Often they will take on the energies of others, including their parents. They need to learn how to let this go.
This is part of the complication for these kids living in this world. We all have heard stories of how some of the great entrepreneurs of our time are ADHD. We know they are incredibly creative kids, but first they have to learn how to survive in this overpopulated, over-stimulating world where people tend not to own their own issues.
So what are your main recommendations for helping these kids develop better energetic boundaries?
Kids are really responsive. One of the things I typically do is work with colors – asking them to visualize colors, such as earth tones, that are grounding, around them. They can also try picturing angels or guardians around them, and ask for their help in not picking up these energies. They can try picturing themselves as a tree, or with their feet in a stream, or in water – all of these visualizations can help them trigger their own energetic boundaries and clearing abilities.
I also think biofeedback is very helpful. I have seen this be very effective. In a biofeedback session, they learn how to recognize and focus to get out of a certain state, such as anxiety, when it arises. Really these kids are in a perpetual state of anxiety, because they are picking up on other people’s anxieties. So they can learn how to deep-breath, how to let that worry-energy go – into the ground, or into the tree roots, or into the stream (if they are visualizing.) So this is a lot of the stuff that I help with.
There are physical things that help too, such as diet. The third chakra is of course also linked to the stomach and digestive system, so diet can be really critical. Gluten, dairy, and additives can definitely each be issues, and cutting down on these can help some kids a lot. Of course, you have to be realistic about what you can and can’t control – it’s easier when kids are younger, but as they get older and have more autonomy, you can’t always limit certain foods. Including as many healthy fruits and vegetables as you can in their diet will at least help counterbalance whatever else they are eating.
As a parent myself, I recognize you can only control so much. I try to be very realistic. I find that helping them eat as if they are hypoglycemic – every couple of hours with frequent protein – can be very helpful. And it’s interesting to note that a certain amount of caffeine can actually be helpful to ADHD kids.
Really? Caffeine gets such a bad rap, and as a stimulant I would think it would increase the hyperactivity?
No, it’s interesting, studies have actually shown that caffeine relaxes the parts of the brain that are hyperactive, and stimulants the parts that are underactive. This actually helps with focus. When an ADHD kid is having a particularly hard time they may benefit from the combination of a protein snack, such as a healthy protein bar, and a little bit of caffeine – for example, a little bit of Zevia cola, which has a bit of caffeine but without all the additives.
It’s important to know this stuff because people guilt trip themselves so much over caffeine. There’s a way for it to be useful.
As an avid coffee drinker, I know this is true for myself, in the right amounts, so that is very interesting. Ok, so we’ve talked about the energetic and physical aspects of ADHD, what are some of the soul or spiritual issues you referred to?
I think most ADHD individuals are very gifted psychically, whether they are clairsentient, clairaudient, clairvoyant, or a mix of these. I think their soul tends to come in from past lives believing that they need to pick as much information up as possible to be safe. They may have been psychic in a past life, and that was their source of safety, or they may have suffered some trauma, and are now predisposed to be hyper-vigilant in order to prevent it from happening again. In any case, they come in feeling like they have to have all of their ‘feelers’, their boundaries, completely open or they might miss something, and be in danger because of it.
It strikes me that this is similar to some symptoms of PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder], and that on an energetic level it is what often happens with trauma and abuse survivors. The third chakra is too open, with no boundaries, and thus it is also hyperactive/over-stimulated.
Yes, and I think many of these kids do have trauma in past lives. So they come in with the soul-belief, ‘I have to stay open in order to predict what bad things might happen.’
These sensitivities are ultimately psychic gifts, when managed properly. That’s the key. These individuals are the ‘hunters’ of the world – the modern equivalents of the people who could sense where the game was when we were still in hunting and gathering societies. Now we are just surrounded by so many people, with so many dangers, that it is overwhelming to be this way. And so people may be born ‘on the edge’ so to speak – if they had been born in quiet surroundings, or at a different time in history, they wouldn’t be what we consider to be ADHD. But in this day and age, it gets triggered, or ‘toggled on’, by their circumstances.
Aha, so that’s an interesting way of looking at it, and brings me to a question I wanted to ask. More and more kids are being diagnosed with ADHD, and autism [covered in the second part of this interview], and there’s some debate about why. Do you think it is truly on the increase, or just being diagnosed more often?
I think it’s both. There’s no doubt it’s being diagnosed more because we are more aware of it, but it’s also occurring more because we have so many danger signs around us – so much exposure to war, violence, etc. through media and the state of the world. So our sense of danger gets stimulated all the time, and for someone with ADHD tendencies, it then gets triggered more often.
Studies are also showing that some ADHD kids are born to moms that experienced some kind of abuse, stress, or trauma during pregnancy. This is where I’m very cautious talking about things, because we moms don’t need any more reasons to worry! But more and more science is drawing links between what happens in the womb and conditions that trigger later on. In ADHD kids it’s as if this sense of danger gets triggered in the womb because of things the mother goes through.
Weren’t there also links found between autism and stress in the womb?
Yes, and between a mother getting flu while pregnant and autism. However, these are correlations, not causal – the studies aren’t saying these womb experiences cause ADHD or autism, just that there is some sort of relevant correlation. To me, this is where epigenetics is going – the study of how different genes get toggled on. There is a very similar subtle body process – the energetic tendencies can get ‘toggled on’ through certain experiences, when maybe they wouldn’t have otherwise. There are actually a lot of microbes associated with autism.
I believe when it comes to genetic tendencies and disease patterns, the epigenes get turned on or off during conception based on what the soul brings in. It’s like there is a process where the soul is weighing what experiences from the tendencies it inherits it needs to experience or not for growth. And then there are things that happen during pregnancy that toggle on the genes.
It’s important for mothers not to view this as a source of guilt, however. All of our experiences are part of our growth, for parent and child – I can say this from personal experience!
Me too! So in a way, we are saying that a lot of these tendencies are getting ‘toggled on’ for a greater percentage of the population because of the time we live in.
Yes, exactly. And these kids are in fact the messengers for changes we need to make. They are showing us the ways society needs to change and they are driving those changes as they move through our education system and out into the world. They are showing us what we need to say ‘no’ to and what we need to say ‘yes’ to.
Where does electronic time or ‘screen time’ fit into this? There’s a lot of talk about media, video games, computer time etc. being part of the problem.
Well, this is interesting too, because studies have shown that the right kind of screen time can be very beneficial for ADHD kids. Of course exposure to violence through violent games or media is not good, because it increases the anxiety and sense of danger. But learning games can actually help them focus. Many ADHD kids learn more effectively through interactive computer lessons than in a classroom setting because it is easier for them to focus. They are also not picking up on the mental and emotional ‘data’ that humans give out – they aren’t psychically over-stimulated or distracted by their teacher or peers.
So this is an interesting issue, because I know some people believe that media and ‘screen time’ are the cause of the increase in ADHD and autism. But I think it’s really about the type of programs they are accessing.
For me, too much computer time leaves me frazzled, but I feel it more in my third eye, not navel chakra.
Yes, that’s actually more of an environmental sensitivity issue – what I think of as the 10th chakra. It’s not a navel chakra issue, it’s 10th chakra, although then it may impact the way your third eye functions.
Certainly for everyone, balance is key. But the main point is that the right kind of screen time can actually be helpful for ADHD kids, not harmful. It is a break for them from the influx of psychic data from others, and it allows them to focus. So technology can be part of the problem, but it can also be part of the solution.
These kids still need grounding energy – they still need to get outside, and get in their bodies. They need sports. But that’s to get them into their feet, because they tend to be so much in their third chakra up.
That’s great information Cyndi. Thanks so much for sharing.
Be sure to check out Cyndi’s books, Energetic Boundaries, and Intuition Guidebook, if you are interested in more information on some of the themes she discusses here. And here is the second part of this interview – Autism and Soul Groups.