Whitebird Rising Origin Story
Laura Basha, PhD
FOUNDER & CREATOR, WHITEBIRD RISING
Who Knew a Penniless, Shy, Anxiety-Riddled Kid from the Boston Suburbs
Would Create a Lucrative Global Career
Teaching Access to Beauty and Peace of Mind to Thousands?
I had nightmares every night of my life until I was thirty-five. No kidding. Every night. That’s what sleep was for me.
Ours was a childhood with no safe harbor and we grew up poor. My sisters and I were terrified of the unpredictable outbursts of both our parents. I figured out how to read the psychological undercurrents so as to stay out of their way by the time I was around eight years old. This essentially meant I became mute—did not share my thoughts or self-expression for fear of ridicule and punishment. Loneliness was a familiar companion. I found solace in drawing and painting, a form of expression that I have refined over the years and practice to this day.
I was ashamed of what I perceived as my family’s inadequacies. Our rundown house sat in the midst of a well-to-do middleclass neighborhood of new 1950s homes. We had no front steps to the front door and the wooden porch on the side of the house was rotting and unpainted. The neighbors made fun of my dark-skinned, introverted father behind his back as he walked home from the bus stop after a long day working on the fishing docks of Boston, head hung low.
We did have a television, however, and I had a deep fascination with two TV programs: One Step Beyond and The Twilight Zone. I would finish my homework early on the afternoons they aired so that I made sure I could watch those weird and fascinating shows. There was something about other realms of existence that I think triggered an intrinsic awareness in me that the physical world was not the only option for information—that maybe I was more than this lost, anxious little girl.
As lowly as our circumstances were, I decided that I must not be worth much—but I wanted to feel safe, to be free of these past emotional patterns and ways of thinking about myself. I wanted to know how to access mental and emotional health and well-being. I kept searching for how to belong, how to harness true power and generate authentic self-expression. I had a longing for the dissolution of the illusion of separateness—to achieve oneness. I had a tremendous longing for peace of mind.
These longings brought me to California from the East Coast. My soon-to-be husband Bert and I drove out in our old Ford Falcon station wagon, and found housing and work in our new town of Oakland, CA. Searching for peace of mind didn’t end, and through securing work as a color artist with a color and fashion studio, I met a coterie of people who were to become my new family, a tight circle of folks whom I still call friends. It was through this circle that I was introduced to the emerging transformational growth and development work that permeated the Bay Area in the ’70s and ’80s, and began to understand how to become free from the old limitations of childhood that had so repressed me—how freedom from the past could be available to anyone who was interested.
At the age of twenty-seven I met my spiritual teacher, the Reverend Kathryn Jarvis. Over the next seventeen years, she taught me and other students how to heal myself and others. We worked with requests for healing from people all over the world, and we received report after report stating, “The doctors were amazed!” as terminal illnesses like stage four cancer and HIV/AIDS cases disappeared from patients’ bodies. What was not understood medically did not interfere with the truth of transmutation. I began to see how I could be an instrument of and catalyst for transformation and healing, and how healing old emotional wounds gave me access to being of service to others in the same way. “To give is to receive” suddenly made sense. It had to come through me first, then flow out to others.
Even with all this growth, I was still having nightmares, so when at the age of thirty-five I heard about a wonderful homeopath who worked at the Hahnemann Clinic on San Pablo Avenue in North Berkeley, CA, I went to see her. After several pages’ worth of very odd questions (Do you leave one foot hanging outside the sheets when you sleep at night? If so, which foot on which side of the bed?), she prescribed a homeopathic remedy for me and . . . the nightmares stopped! Just like that. I was amazed, relieved—dumbfounded.
And thus I began to search in earnest about how to heal conditions, mindsets, hidden scars. I was still very much devoted to my work with the Reverend Jarvis; but I also wondered, What other healing methodologies, solutions, and interventions might be sourced from outside of what can be seen or scientifically proven?
During this time, I came across an ontological study that incorporated all levels of human psychological evolution, as well as all levels of spiritual evolution that can be experienced—eventually returning us to the Tao, which of course can only be pointed to. This study was an enlightened, pragmatic, and accessible version of those old metaphysical TV shows of the ’50s and ‘60s. I was so influenced by it that I began to work with it intensively—and have continued to do so for the last nearly forty years.
I then met an exceptional man named Sydney Banks. He’d had an experience of theophany, a transmutational awakening experience with Light, years earlier, and since then people had been flocking to him and asking him to explain spirituality to them. Syd had inspired two very perceptive psychologists to work with him, and together they were pulling the worlds of spirituality and psychology together.
It was at this juncture that I went back to graduate school, first completing a master’s program in counseling psychology and continuing on to get a double doctorate in clinical and organizational psychology. The two psychologists who had been working with Syd became mentors for me, and the model they developed with Syd became the model of psychology about which I wrote my dissertation and upon which I based my psychological practice.
Through these many years, I experienced divorce and became a single mom of two with no child support; completed graduate school; and weathered the devastating impact of my children’s father’s suicide. It was with the guidance of these above-mentioned extraordinary healers and mentors that I turned inward and was able—through the illuminating fires of self-reflection, understanding forgiveness, and ongoing personal transformational development—to release myself from the traumatic and invalidating mindsets within which I had been imprisoned. I found my way from crucifixion to resurrection.
When my father was ninety-one, I flew with my sister Betty from the SF Bay Area to his home in Portland, Oregon, after not having seen him for more than twenty years. My sister and I aligned on creating a mindset of love and affinity to bring to him for this visit. Through that alignment, I was able to tell this now fragile old man who had been the terror of my childhood that I loved him. With an impossibly remorseful and heartbreaking expression on his face he said back, “I love you too, honey.” Compassion welled up within me, and over the following weeks we shared several tender phone conversations. He passed away six months later, on Father’s Day. At the age of fifty-eight, I could no longer say I didn’t know a father’s love.
A few years later, my three sisters and I flew to New Hampshire to see my ninety-year-old mother. She had been truly neglectful to all of us in childhood—and yet I could honestly, authentically, and with gratitude say to her, “Mom, I love you, and I want to thank you for my life. You did your job, because I have a great life.” She welled up with tears and we hugged. She made her transition seven weeks later.
These were not idle, contrived communications. These conversations with both my parents were heartfelt and powerfully transformative—and it took me decades of personal development to be capable of accessing the unflappable truth of love that I communicated to them both. The only realm that is real is love. This is no pollyannaish drivel. Accessing love in the face of trauma and fear is the way out of hell.
We are all on a learning odyssey through seemingly endless cycles of reincarnation. My life continues to be about this work. I know now how to walk through the fires and rise from the ashes—not untouched, but unscathed. My commitment is to share what I have learned and practiced and honed through the crucibles of my own experiences, so that others may find freedom from the limitations of the past, know how to access peace of mind, and live contented and creative lives.
Being free from the past allows you to non-judgmentally recognize the limitations of your old thought patterns so you can awaken to conscious choice and authentically and powerfully choose, express, and create in the present. Through cultivating an inward outlook, you will be able to realize a simple shift in thinking that loosens the grip of old, limiting thought patterns and brings an ongoing availability to wisdom, common sense, clarity, light-heartedness, and well-being—no particular sets of practices or exercises required.
Imagine a life filled with ease, authentic self-expression, and joy. Creativity, true power, and peace of mind emerge for you and become ever available as you awaken to masterful living. I share this work with love in the spirit and hope that some phrase or inquiry will inspire possibility in you, holding a mirror up to your own innate beauty, genius, and greatness.
Santa Rosa, California
November 1, 2022