On March 1st I received a phone call from Mike Scahill informing me that Anna Wise was in the community hospital in Monterey, California where she was being treated for pneumonia and was not doing well. March 3rd she crossed the Rainbow Bridge, leaving a rich legacy behind that will live on in her absence.
Over 25 years Anna’s work with the Awakened Mind has perhaps been immeasurably influential on my continued passion to share TTouch and understand the effects of the small circles. I am convinced that the whole brain activation discovered in Anna’s initial study in 1984 explains why people who make TTouch a part of their lives report profound changes in their overall attitude; their mental, emotional and physical flexibility; their happiness and their sense of wellbeing. The activation of the logical left brain, along with the feeling right brain, gives us the capacity to access our genius and at the same time open our hearts.
In the 1984 study with 15 students at the Jodar Arabian Ranch in Boulder, Colorado it was discovered that with every TTouch there was an activation in both hemispheres of the brain in most students in the range of the “Awakened Mind state.” Anna had the “brainwave” to see if it was possible to measure brainwave activity in a horse being TTouched and the results left us all speechless when Anna made the comment about the brainwaves on the screen, “Look here. How fascinating this would be if only the right side was activated.
And to our amazement, the screen lit up on the right side. Because the results were so interesting, Anna proposed a second study the following summer. This time she had a remote headpiece made so we could measure the brainwave activity as a horse was moving through the labyrinth. Again, we were amazed to see beta brain wave activity as the horse made the few balanced steps around each corner! Beta brainwaves, for those of you not yet acquainted with the term, are the brainwaves that we humans use for logical thinking. This certainly could explain why horses make such amazing shifts in mental, emotional and physical balance when worked in the labyrinth.
Over the ensuing years Anna and I stayed in touch. About 15 years ago, we organized a day to see what could be measured with dogs and their people, but the results were very mixed and inconclusive. Anna felt this was due to too much activity in the room with a lot of people – not at all ideal for a study.
In March of 2009 we finally had a chance to get together again – this time at the Oakland Zoo – with the idea of measuring brainwaves of a giraffe and my brainwaves while working on the giraffe. Because of slippery ground around the giraffe paddock Anna was unable to get her wheelchair close and Robin Bernhard, Sandy Rakowitz and Jessica Eure experimented with an apparatus to measure the giraffe’s brainwaves. They were partially successful and plan to go back at some point to continue the study. Anna was looking forward to continuing that work.
Here is a slideshow of photos of Anna, Sandy Rakowitz, Robin Bernhard, Jaynellen Kovacevitch, Barbara Owens, and James Ripley with me at the Oakland Zoo.
What we were able to do that day was to measure Sandy Rakowitz and me doing distance TTouches and found some fascinating results with gamma wave activity that Anna had not seen before. We have the whole operation on video with Anna speaking and plan to make it available sometime in the future, along with the video of original work in 1984. I feel blessed to have her voice on a MP3 from our CELLebration in Santa Fe last November when we “Skyped” her in. She shared her memories of the surprise we all felt at the mare’s response to her request for right-side activation so long ago.
Although Anna is no longer with us in the physical, I feel her presence very near and her inspiration and influence will be with me to the day I make my journey to the Other Side. I wrote the following piece to be read at her memorial on May 3rd in San Francisco. Anyone wishing to share your memories can write them on a memorial page on her website at annawise.com.
There is also a page on Facebook where people have left their comments at Anna Wise Fanpage
Anna Wise, 1950-2010
ANNA’S PERSONAL BIOGRAPHY
Anna Anderson Wise was born July 13th 1950, in Selma, Alabama. She died on Wednesday night, 3rd March, at 11.42pm, in Monterey, California at the age of 59 years, after a remarkable life.
Her mother was the daughter of the Mayor, and her father was an officer in the United States Air Force. She had a brother, Bill, 3 years older. Anna’s father rose to the rank of Major General, with 2 stars, and was a Base Commander, so she grew up on Air Force bases throughout North America. After her father’s retirement the family settled near Denver in Colorado, and she went to High School in the town of Golden, then attended the University of Colorado, Boulder.
She later studied abroad in England, and eventually became a Director of The Franklin School of Contemporary Studies in London. It was there that she trained with Maxwell Cade, Isabel Cade and Geoffrey Blundell in Biofeedback Consciousness Training using the Mind Mirror to create The Awakened Mind state. She began teaching this work with her friend Elizabeth St.John. She also met James MacRitchie at The School.
Anna and Jim went on to create The Natural Dance Workshop, a social arts project, and taught, led workshops and presented participatory performances throughout the UK and Europe from 1975-1981. She was a Founding Board Member of the European Association for Humanistic Psychology in Geneva, in 1979.
In 1981 Anna and Jim married and moved to Boulder, where they created The Evolving Institute – A Center for Personal and Social Evolution.
In 1984 they had a son, John.
Anna found great success in the US in her work with Biofeedback Consciousness Training and The Awakened Mind. Jim practiced Classical Acupuncture and taught Chi Kung/Qigong.
However, by 1988 Anna and Jim had moved in different professional and creative directions. They separated and divorced. Anna moved to San Francisco with John and created The Anna Wise Center. She became nationally and internationally successful, and traveled around the globe teaching her work. She was highly regarded, and honored, as an innovator in her field. The history of her work in Biofeedback is described in her professional biography, which follows this.
In the 1994 Anna developed the first symptoms of what ended up being diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease. Over the course of the following 16 years it became more and more severe, and despite every effort and avenue of treatment, got to the point that she was nearly quadriplegic. She was in a wheelchair. However, undaunted by her tremendous difficulties and disabilities, and with enormous courage and determination, she cheerily continued to teach, lead workshops, write books, record audio programs and see private clients.
John lived nearby and visited often. She reconnected with Jim. Over the last three years she had the comfort of Mike Scahill, who began as her attendant, and became her constant companion and friend.
In the week of 15th February 2010 Anna went to Esalen Institute, in Big Sur on the coast of California, to teach what she declared to be her last workshop after 66 such programs there over the previous 20+ years. She loved Esalen, it was the ‘second home’ for her work. She said that following this she was retiring. On the last day of the workshop she felt ill, and ended in the Community Hospital in nearby Monterey. She had contracted pneumonia, and despite the best medical attention and efforts over the next 12 days was not able to recover. She spent her last days cared for in comfort and dignity, with John, Mike and other friends present.
Anna was a Christian and a Taoist, and was prepared and ready to move into her next life. She slowly faded until on Wednesday 3rd March she ascended into the Immortal Realm. It was a Happy Day in Heaven.
Dear Anna brought great light and awareness into this world, and left it a better place. We will miss her always, but feel blessed by her extraordinary presence and being. Thank You, Anna – on behalf of ourselves, and everybody else’s life you touched and graced all over this world.
ANNA’S PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY
Anna was a leading pioneer and a bright light in the worlds of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, before the fields took hold. She taught a model based on what was called The Awakened Mind, which she developed with her mentors Maxwell Cade and Geoffrey Blundell in London in the ‘70’s, then took further. She used the Mind Mirror as her instrument to teach Consciousness Training.
Her M.A. was in Humanistic Psychology, she had Diplomates in Neurotherapy and Peak Performance, and was an early member of the Academy of Certified Neurotherapists.
Anna’s work was not medical or pathology oriented, she danced to the beat of a different drummer – so to some her work was controversial. In a field largely populated with male scientists, engineers and medical Doctors investigating illness and disease, she sparkled with her work on consciousness, meditation, enlightenment and higher state of being, balancing the Yin to so much Yang.
Anna was the world’s leading authority on The Awakened Mind and EEG. She was the author of Awakening the Mind: A Guide to Mastering the Power of Your Brainwaves (Tarcher Putnam 2002) and The High Performance Mind – Mastering Brainwaves for Insight, Healing, and Creativity (Tarcher Putnam 1995). She was a contributing author to The Art of Survival – A Guide to Yoga Therapy (Unwin Hyman Ltd. 1987) with her chapter “Biofeedback Meditation and the Awakened Mind”, with her groundbreaking new material which included identifying alpha brainwaves as the bridge between the conscious and the subconscious mind.
She also recognized that it is the interrelationship of the peak frequencies of beta, alpha, theta, and delta that distinguishes the Awakened Mind. By understanding and working with the importance of the relationship between the state and the content of consciousness, Anna developed her protocol for brainwave training that formed the basis of her work.
Over this time Anna created her curriculum for training others to be practitioners, and refined her understanding of mastery, traveling throughout the world studying the brainwaves of Masters, Yogis, Swamis, Artists, Qigong Practitioners and others. She created numerous CDs of guided meditations, including a set of recordings of meditations from her books, and music with binaural beat frequencies for meditation, healing and awakening. She was one of the premier artists in the new field of frequency composition. Anna taught biofeedback meditation and brainwave training for three decades, and led workshops and seminars throughout the United States, and in Europe, South America, and Asia.
She will be greatly missed by the many students and colleagues in her professional field.
It has been said if a film were to be made of Anna’s life, people would think it was fiction.
Anna Wise -– Inspiration
May 1, 2010
I have had the privilege of working with many inspiring people during my 72 years on this earth and Anna is at the top of the list. Since our first research study together on the effects of Tellington TTouch on brain wave function in 1984 and 1985, when Anna was the director of the Biofeedback Institute of Boulder, Colorado, her knowledge and brilliance clearly represented the genius of the Awakened Mind that she so passionately pursued. Anna’s suggestion that we measure the brainwave activity of a horse during a TTouch session was a first in the equine world. I can remember the feeling of amazement and delight we all felt when the horse’s brain wave activity on the Mind Mirror screen clearly demonstrated beta brain waves, entrainment and response to movement through a maze. That initial work with Anna twenty-five years ago has inspired my passion for pursuit of the Awakened Mind and has been instrumental in effecting animals and their people on 5 continents.
In spite of the pain she was in during the last year she participated in an ongoing study of TTouch we did at the Oakland Zoo last March, measuring brain wave activity on a giraffe. Her creativity was never dulled by the limitation of her movement.
Even the way she left us was a tribute to her genius. Only 2 weeks after announcing her retirement from teaching, Anna chose to cross the Rainbow Bridge – in my mind – dancing. Her work on this plain was clearly complete. And although Anna is no longer with us in the physical, I am certain she will not be sitting quietly on a cloud playing a harp. She will continue to inspire us with the memories of her courage, her humor, her kindness and her genius. Although I dearly miss her presence in the physical body, I look forward to her continued guidance from Heaven.