Penny Cohen’s life took a sharp turn when at 38 years of age, her husband of nineteen years asked for a divorce. A determined individual, Penny decided she was going to be happy rather than sad. She started journaling and writing her stream of consciousness every day to note the changes that were taking place in her life. She also tried to learn as much as she can about relationships, hoping to find a happy, permanent one someday. On today’s show, she joins Tesa Baum to share the zigzags she took in her life – including joining and eventually doing Kabbalah workshops and opening her spiritually-oriented psychotherapy practice – in her quest to find exquisite love, higher consciousness, and wisdom.
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Finding Inner Peace And Higher Consciousness With Penny Cohen
In this episode, I’m going to be speaking with Penny Cohen. She is a leading-edge groundbreaking transformational psychotherapist and author. She has been counseling individuals, lecturing, and conducting workshops internationally at professional conferences, universities, and organizations on personal career, spiritual development, and Kabbalah. She also teaches personal Kabbalah based on her book, Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths to Inner Peace and Life Purpose.
Penny’s passion is interpreting and explaining spiritual and metaphysical concepts in simple, practical terms applicable to daily life. Her mission is to offer self-help tools while guiding people to connect with the core of who they are, open to inner peace, love, and wisdom, uncover their purpose, and live and love the life they will for themselves and make a difference in the world. I’m looking forward to you knowing her zig-zag story.
Tesa, thank you for having me on your show.
Thanks for coming. I’m happy to speak with you. I’ve missed you since you moved.
It’s been a while coming.
It was wild. The thought of you moving out from the East Coast was an end of an era for me. I’ve come to you for many years and you’ve taught me so much. It was sad having you leave.
I’m still doing Zoom groups online if anybody is interested.
Penny, I know we’ve talked a little bit about the idea of the zig-zag of life and I wanted to know if you have an impactful zig-zag story that you would like to share or any philosophy you have on life.
When you reach my age, you have a lot of zig-zags. My primary zig-zag was when I was 38 years old because my husband of nineteen years asked me for a divorce and I was devastated. I had no career and no college education. I had two children ages 9 and 5. I didn’t know what to do. I was beside myself. I went to a therapist who said, “The mind controls all. Yogis can walk on nails. They can control their body temperature.” I’m a determined individual, so I decided I was going to be happy rather than sad. At the same time, a neighbor who got divorced six months earlier said to me, “Keep a journal. It’ll be interesting to see the changes that take place in you.”
Did you do it daily? Did you work on the journal every day?
I became a workshop junkie. I’ll tell the story, but yes, I kept the journal. I did a stream of consciousness writing every day because she said, “It’ll be interesting to see the changes that take place in you.” I was writing down conversations I was having with people. At the same time, I wanted to be thin in the singles world. Being determined, I lost 30 pounds in three weeks but that wasn’t heavy to begin with. I went from 125 to 98 pounds. I also wanted to learn everything I could about relationships and how to have a happy permanent one.
I started reading books all night long, sleeping maybe an hour at night. I don’t know how long it was. After not sleeping and not eating, I became absolutely overwhelmed with non-stop thought. In the journal, it was interesting because I kept writing everything. I tuned into ESP and mental telepathy and I started hearing theories on how to reach the highest in creativity. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and it was like something was guiding my hand and it brought it out. After a while of overwrought with non-stop thought, I started crying hysterically while dusting furniture.
I ran into my bedroom with these animalistic guttural sounds coming out of me that were Earth-shattering to me. I ran into my bedroom and my knees went down to the floor. My hands went over the bed and I automatically screamed, “God help me.” I’m an atheist up until this time. I lay down in the bed exhausted and there was total silence. I felt this incredible radiant surround me like soft pins and needles massaging my skin. I felt this exquisite love enter into me. I remembered thinking, “This is the feeling of love without having someone to love.”
Isn’t that incredible?
This must be what divine love is.
What a gift.
Don’t think I’m an egomaniac but I heard a voice and the voice said, “You are a Messiah.” I’ll explain that later. I remember thinking a Messiah can save the world. I can’t even save myself. I started asking, “What do I know?” The voice said, “All knowing is within and what you know will manifest in poetry.”
You were not writing much before.All knowing is within, and what you know will manifest in poetry. Click To Tweet
I never wrote poetry. I never read poetry in high school. It would take me three hours to write three lines. I chalked the whole thing off as a hallucination. Three weeks later, I was visiting my brother for the weekend and I had my head on the end table. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote the first of about 1,000 poems.
I love that your stream of consciousness and creativity were connected to these divine creative hours.
Unintentionally. I realized the poems weren’t great literary prose. They were little ditties that would come day and night and I’d write them down. I realized later, they were answers to questions I was asking internally.
It is about asking the right questions. That’s what I’m finding.
After the mystical experience, I lost that high clear state. I entered it in an unhealthy way. I got into an altered state by not eating or sleeping. It’s probably close to a nervous breakdown. I started asking, “How can you reach this state in a healthy, balanced, systematic approach?” From there on, I’d meet people who would tell me about workshops. “Take a workshop in Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Shamanism.” One day, I saw an advertisement for a workshop on Kabbalah and I decided to take it. When I walked into the room, I saw the diagram of a tree of life, which looks like a map and considered the blueprint of creation. It also offers a systematic approach to higher consciousness but when I saw this map, my body started to tingle.
It was recognition. It was the truth or remembrance.
I remembered thinking, “I know this,” but I don’t know what I know.
It’s just familiar and it makes sense.
It was a week-long workshop. In the middle of the week, there was a long meditation where in my mind, I came to this diagram of the tree of life with the key pointing to the middle circle, which represented the heart. My answer to how do you reach this exquisite love, higher consciousness, and wisdom is by opening your hearts.
I’m feeling it as you’re talking. It’s such an incredible story. I found you because I was interested in Kabbalah. My grandfather, as you know, studied Kabbalah. I love the story of how I went to a medium and the medium came through. When you speak to a medium, they just say words. They kept on saying, “Cohen. You’re on the right path.” It was Eddie who said, “He’s coming through.” It was definitely a recognition for my grandfather, who studied Kabbalah. That was special.
I started taking more workshops, studied with Kabbalistic rabbis and secular Kabbalistic teachers, and eventually started doing workshops on it. I belong to a spiritual support group with people from all different backgrounds. Kabbalistically, they would view something this way. One day, while walking out of this house, this woman whispers in my ear, “Write me a proposal for a workbook on Kabbalah.”
This is the Law of Attraction. I had never written before. I wrote a 60-page out, Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths to Inner Peace and Life Purpose and it was published in 2005. I then started doing workshops on it and people would ask me to work with them privately. I had no credentials. At age 38, I went to college for my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree. Four years later, I opened a spiritually-oriented psychotherapy practice.
I forgot what you’d called it when I first started going to you. It’s a study group but it was more than a study group. It was such an interesting idea how we all came together. The way you lead it, you always started it out, “Any synchronicities today?” It brings the magic of life in because we always have these subtle synchronicities that we don’t even realize.
One of the things I tell clients or participants in my group is to keep a stream of consciousness journal so that you can see what’s happening. If you look at it a week or two later, you can see that your thoughts either created it or attracted people into your life.
I don’t know if I ever mentioned this to you, but I did have an experience when I was in Israel when I was a teenager. I began getting prophecies. That was a stream of consciousness as well. That was starting to come through. I knew that someone would be in the room when I walk in. I knew who that person would be. I knew that there would be a bunch of dogs down the street if I walk in that direction. I had a bunch of kids with me and I was scared, and then I went into one room and one kid started saying, “Brouhaha.” I learned a little bit more about the word ruach. What does that mean? I was wondering if I was bringing in some other language because the word was brouhaha, but to me, that means witchy. Ruach, isn’t that spirit?
Something was coming through when I was a teenager, but I felt fearful.
It’s more about breath.
The breath of life. Something was coming through like the breath of life. That’s what was happening because the words you were relaying to me were coming through. I didn’t know Hebrew. In Israel, I wanted that sacred feeling. I was working on a couple, so I was traveling with other kids and it meant a lot to me in that place. Something definitely came through but if I was open and more grounded maybe or a little older but I was scared. I don’t know if you felt at that point in your life. It stops the flow when you’re scared.
When my daughter was around seven years old, I put her to bed and all of a sudden, she asked me a question, “What do you love to do?” I said, “I like to play tennis. I like to jog,” and then I got a little more philosophical. “I like when I can help other people. I like when I break through a difficult project.” We enjoyed that so much. We decided to ask each other a question every night. It’s something that’s good for parents to do. One night, she said to me, “What’s your favorite color?” I thought about it and I said, “Yellow because it’s bright. It reminds me of the sun and it’s cheerful.”
I asked, “What’s your favorite color?” She said, “Yellow, orange, red, and all the bright colors because when I see dull colors around people, it means they’re sick. I even know what’s going to happen before it happens, but I stopped doing that. Even when Uncle Steve went to the hospital, I knew what was going to happen the day before, but I stopped doing it because it scared me.” A lot of kids have these types of experiences and they turn off to it. They’re separating themselves from spirit.
I felt like I was losing my mind because I couldn’t stop it. Other kids around me are getting a kick out of it and they were trying to scare me more, and then finally, 24 hours later, I remember being on a bus and a counselor said, “Tesa, just put it all in perspective.” I felt like everything align and calm down. There’s so much good in creativity that could come out of those moments.
Kids have a lot of these psychic experiences. A few months later, I sprained my ankle and I had my leg up on the cocktail table. My daughter was next to me and all of a sudden, she put her hands on my ankle and I could feel the energy. I said, “Are you aware of what’s going on?” She said, “Yes. There’s energy going through me.” I said, “Do you know when you have it or when you don’t have it?” She says, “Yes. I don’t have it if I’m in an argument with a friend or if I’m worried about a test.”The pineal gland is the gland of healing. Click To Tweet
She was so in tune with herself.
I said, “What do you do to get it back?” She said, “I jump rope or play the piano.” In the state of creativity, you got that flow coming down. In jumping rope or exercising, you’re releasing the fears and the anxieties.
In meditation, you’re bringing in the light and allowing any heavier energy to go back down into the Earth. That’s a cycle. We always did that in your class. It’s a similar meditation I learned from the Peruvians, the Caral tribe. They bring in the refined light energy and they have words similar to what we do, but the hucha, the heavier energy into the Earth, but it’s the same cycle. It’s such a natural human way to process energy.
It brings it down, but now, I’m also having the people bring up the Earth energy. Open your diaphragm and bring in that light and love, bring it up through your heart, neck, and into the pineal gland.
It ends in the pineal gland.
The third eye.
It ends there.
There is a crown chakra also but the pineal gland is the gland of healing. You can open your chakra as well. We want to open the chakra, and then go into the healing in the expressive state.
Penny, what happens when we get thrown by people? What you’re saying is bring in that light energy back in. That’s how we can come back into our flow. Often, we get pulled out.
Someone gives us a dirty look. When the light was something, we immediately closed off from that flow coming in. It depends. The one thing I’ve found in working with clients for many years is I intuitively started asking them ten different questions like, “Where do you feel that awk in your body?” You’ll feel tension either in the neck or in the trunk of your body. If you feel tension in the neck or shoulder area, it’s generally shame, grief, or powerlessness. If you feel tension in the heart or chest area, it’s generally sad, lonely, hurt, or hate. If you feel tension in the stomach or the solar plexus, that’s fear.
It’s great to get to the core feeling but it’s hard to decipher it or figure out what it is. Once you say that and then you connect the two, it helps us understand and process it better.
It’s even more. When you get into the core feeling, you’re in your truth. You can discover the beliefs that created the core feeling going back to childhood and sometimes, there’s some ancestral stuff there. We can ask, “Whose energy is this?”
How can we bring in the past life stories? What’s your take on that?
The past life stories come with deep meditation going down rather than up. Into your past, you can ask about going back to your childhood. Some people go back to their birth. Think of a walk over a bridge and notice what kind of shoes are on your feet. What are you wearing? You see a sign with a number on it. That’s to-date.
I do past life regression and I love what you’re saying. For me, I need a lot of time to get relaxed. In order to go into those feelings and memories, I need an hour of just relaxation technique to be deep. I know you’ve discussed that with me. We don’t necessarily need to be.
Honestly, if you can get into your core feelings, you’re automatically grounded in your body. I say we want to be in the trunk of the body most of the time, people think about their feelings rather than feel that.
It’s also going back to the tree of life like how we can embody that tree. We are that tree as well. We are connected to nature, so just seeing the correlation.
One time, a woman came to me two weeks after her husband asked for a divorce and I said, “Are you allowing yourself to feel whatever feelings are going on?” She said, “Of course, I’m crying all the time.” I said, “Where is that energy?” She says, “In my eyes and in my head,” which meant she’s thinking of whatever the feeling is like fear, sadness, or the hurt. She’s not feeling it. I said, “Bring that thought down into the trunk of your body and see where you feel it.”
Doing this work with you for a long time, I noticed in my life, I often hold it in my neck area. The word was powerless for me. I’ve dealt with a lot of that and I’m evolving as I go. I did a past life regression and the feeling was in my heart. I never had that constriction in this life. I’m like, “It’s never there for me in this life.” It was interesting.
Sad, lonely, hurt, or hate. A lot of people also won’t allow themselves to admit hate. However, it’s a deep feeling that we might have. It’s not the act of hating but it’s a feeling where if we admit it then we release it often. The release allows you to identify what the belief is that’s creating the hate. “I can’t stay with him. He does this. He does that.” You can then ask, “What does this remind me of from the past? Watching my mother yell up to my father.”
It works because it does bring it up to the surface. We have to have a conversation with ourselves. You may have a conversation with a friend and you’re just recycling the energy. Here, you’re getting to the root of it and processing it.
Back to the past lives or ancestral lineage, you can ask yourself, “Has this ever happened in a past life?”
You’re asking yourself that question to get even deeper.
Deeper to a past life.
I’ve been doing more work with Akashic Field healing. I am connecting to that library of information. I definitely understand that it’s energy and there are moments when those core traumas or feelings block us. That could be from a past life because it’s energy, so once you figure out what the word is that you’re feeling or limiting thought, it seems to be accurate.
I use the term past lives but I don’t believe in past lives. Everything is here and now and they were parallel lives. I’ll use the term zig-zag. It’s parallel life to another.
This is where it becomes a little complicated for our little brains to comprehend time. I don’t know if you’ve ever read this book, Oversoul Seven?
I don’t think so.
It talks about this because we have all these experiences simultaneously. Our oversoul is up there but all of our souls are living these stories. It could intertwine. It’s difficult for us to understand because it’s difficult.Most of the time, people think about their feelings rather than feel them. Click To Tweet
To simplify it is to look at what your thoughts and beliefs are here and now. You don’t have to worry about whether it came from a past life or not. This is still your thought and belief. Work on it and feel it.
Let’s get to the heart of it. People like to float away with different stories. That’s why you prefer working with the here and now. Some people want the escape of, “What was my story in another lifetime?” We’re here and now. Let’s get down to that.
Let’s work right now.
Let’s worry about now.
What if it was your sister or your child in the past life? It’s here and now.
This mystical experience for you was that pivotal time in your life where you then had a new purpose and it’s been your calling ever since. Do you feel that new ideas are constantly coming through for you?
For me, I’m constantly questioning, what’s my purpose, not just in life, but what’s my purpose now. I get ideas. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I don’t know if I want to travel the world anymore. All of a sudden, I’m rebranding myself doing Zoom sessions, giving my process away for free. I am constantly evolving. The reality is I talked about we have to live in peace and truth. Before I forget, I’ll mention what that Messiah message meant to me. It took me 25 years to figure it out. What I’ve come to believe is that we’re all our Messiahs. We’re capable of reaching a state of peace within ourselves by transforming our thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions to truth, peace, and love. When we come from truth, peace, and love, that’s when others will be in their truth and respond accordingly. That’s when we’ll have world peace.
Thank you for all of this. You’re always coming through and it expands us. To think in these terms, it puts us in, for me, a higher vibration. If you do struggle throughout the day or you have somebody that’s challenging, it’s going back to what you have to focus on with yourself.
I tell everybody, “I have the same issues as every one of my clients.” When I deal with them, I have to deal with myself. I’ve been doing this work for decades. Do you think I never get angry or lose my temper? I show this to everybody else. That’s when I’ll usually say to myself, “Thank God, I’m human.”
It’s merging the Messiah. Any other books that are on the horizon? I know some things were in the works a few years back.
I still have to get them online and print them. One is called Love Palpably and it’s about my transformation. It’s the foundation of the work that I’m doing now, which is called Transformative Breakthroughs in 21 Minutes. How that came about was that people would work with me. I’ve worked with a lot of professional psychiatrists, psychologists, and therapists. Over the years, I intuitively started asking them questions and they were so happy that they could breakthrough quickly. I’d look at my watch and it would invariably take around 21 minutes.
We always say, can things happen instantaneously?
My spontaneous success for decades.
I know we’ve discussed in the past about shifting your mindset. Anything that has been on a pattern in your life, do you feel that a new habit could form after a certain amount of time?
We can teach old dogs new tricks. Yes. It all goes from saying, it’s more than just saying an affirmation. A lot of people are teaching, mindfulness, meditation, and visualization. It’s more than that. You’ve got to feel it inside you and believe it and let it go. People don’t realize that they have to let it go and let the universe work with them.
If we are holding on to that destination or the way we want it to work out, then you’re holding a captive. You’re not letting the energy work for you. I do remember you saying to change something, it takes 21 days.
It takes 21 days to embrace the concept and it can take up to anywhere from 61 to 245 days to integrate it. You have to repeat the affirmation until you believe it and then you see the universe working with you. You’re in the flow and you’re accomplishing your goals or your intentions.
It is matching up the correct affirmation because it gets to the heart of what you are looking to shift or expand. We could say it’s not even about being happy. It’s about letting go of an attachment, as an example.
You have to be in alignment with your affirmation and you have to feel worthy and deserving of having it. That’s when the psychological piece comes in.
Do you often tell people what the affirmation is or do they come up with their affirmation?
They come up with their own most of the time, but we will generally brainstorm that because just saying I am successful and not feeling good inside, the universe is going to show you the opposite. I go to a baseline, “Do you believe you’re successful? Are you willing to be successful? Are you preparing to be successful?” A lot of people can say, “No, I’m not willing to be successful yet. It’s too big of a leap.” I said, “What about preparing to be successful?” They would do that.
I was watching an inspirational clip on Oprah. It was 100 of her top ways of being successful. She said that she doesn’t believe that she’s lucky. She prepares and then opportunity meets her.
She said years ago, “God is a preparation waiting for love.”
Penny, it’s such a pleasure. Anything else that you would like to share before we close out? Anything you’re offering?
I mentioned the process that I’ve developed and I am giving it away for free. If anybody wants it, please email me at Penny@PennyCohen.com. I’m also beginning to do a five-week workshop on how to have transformative breakthroughs in 21 minutes if anybody is interested.
It was loads of fun.
Enjoy the rest of your day in the sun.
Stay safe. Bye.
- Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths to Inner Peace and Life Purpose
- Oversoul Seven
About Penny Cohen
Penny Cohen, LCSW is a leading-edge groundbreaking transformational psychotherapist, life coach and author.
She has been counseling individuals, and lecturing, and conducting workshops internationally at professional conferences, universities, and organizations on personal, career, and spiritual development and Kabbalah for the past fifteen years.
She holds a Master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, is a licensed psychotherapist, certified hypnotherapist, EMDR, Energy Psychology, and Imago Relationship practitioner and Life and Spiritual Coach.
She also teaches Personal Kabbalah based on her book, Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths to Inner Peace and Life Purpose. She has a private psychotherapy and life coaching practice in Westchester County, NY where she helps people connect with the core of who they are and experience inner peace, love and find and fulfill their purpose.
She works with individuals, couples and groups in her office, onsite, or by telephone.