Embodied healing

I haven’t written for over a week, although it doesn’t actually feel that long because time is passing at a fairly normal speed at the moment. This hasn’t often happened for me in the last few years; usually even if adult me has been experiencing the passing of time normally, there has nearly always been at least one other part of me either living in trauma time (where time disappears completely and we exist in a perpetual present), or experiencing time dragging really slowly. It feels quite nice that life is passing by at normal pace. I worked on Monday but have been on annual leave the rest of the week – we’ve not really done much, just some walks and lots of relaxing at home, but it has been nice. I completely blitzed the house at the end of last week when Nina was away for a few days and that felt so good. It is now cleansed of nearly all the things negatively associated with my Mum (there was so much), and I got rid of a lot of other stuff too, and it is really nice and clean and organised here which is a state I love to live in.

I don’t feel good at all today. My body is extremely tight and sore in a number of places which is making me uncomfortable and edgy, and my right knee is so painful that walking is quite hard. I am also very dissociated and drowsy and heavy and the day ahead feels quite a mission. So, I don’t feel good but what I do feel, after my second Creative Kinesiology (CK) session yesterday, is hopeful. I feel hopeful about healing after therapy. I feel hopeful that my body can release some of the deeply held trauma and tension I carry with me. I feel hopeful that I can feel safe in my body and safe to be connected to myself and my feelings, as well as the rest of the world. I feel hopeful about my ability to make authentic and lasting connections with people. I feel hopeful about what is ahead of me. I know I am on the right healing path, and it has also been confirmed to me this week that all the work I’ve done with K so far has worked – it is all there, just waiting to be integrated and consciously and unconsciously acted upon.

On Wednesday I had my first 121 yoga session with the teacher who incorporates myofascial release into her teachings – I’ll call her Dee. Dee was great and I found the session beneficial but it has stirred things up in my body (more on this later) so I will need to discuss this with her next time and see how we can avoid that happening. She said at the start we’d do a 15 minute consultation first but it actually took 50 minutes – I always feel kind of embarrassed, and a bit overwhelmed, when I start telling my story because of how long it takes even to cover the basics of my past in terms of my history with physical pain and fatigue, my current dissociation and complex-trauma symptoms, and the various things I’ve tried over the years to heal and recover. One thing she did ask that has really stayed with me is whether the DP and DR got worse when I started therapy. Although I’ve struggled with DP and DR all my life, along with other forms of dissociation, they did get a lot worse when I started therapy and it really helps to be reminded that this is because so much has been coming up all the time and there has been so much automatic shame and fear over my needs and emotions as a result of this. All that poking around in the darkness and dirt has been needed, but the amount that has come up pretty much every week for the past three years is incredible, and it does make sense that the DP and DR have been so much worse. It helped Dee saying about this because I now know she “gets” this type of dissociation, and that, due to its chronic nature, it is not anxiety-related but linked to shame around feelings and needs and relational connection and, on a fundamental level, who I am. And it helped me to think that maybe it will start to get better once I have settled into life without therapy next year (eek!).

Dee’s yoga teachings are all based on the need to live an embodied experience to heal by exploring the felt sense as connection of mind and body. She uses embodied movement practices and postures along with myofascial release and relaxation techniques as a tool to help unlock and discharge trauma and tension held within the nervous system.  She was familiar with adverse neural tension, and how for someone like me my body is not tight because of muscle tightness, but because my CNS is so tight from clinging on for survival for so long. She struggled with bulimia for 16 years and did 7 years of therapy herself, so she was very comfortable talking about therapy and very understanding about the process, and she has a deep understanding of how important embodied movement and yoga practices are in reconnecting with your body, releasing inner conflict, and developing a kinder, healthier, more respectful relationship with your body and yourself. So I can see that working with her will be hugely beneficial for me. We did some mindful movement practices and some shaking which was amazing – afterwards I felt so much more awake, but also much more settled internally. We then did some myofascial release with me rolling over and then lying on tennis balls on sore points on my lower back and then shoulders and upper back. Although I felt good afterwards, I was aware that the discomfort I’d started out with had shifted to elsewhere in my body, and so it is this tennis ball stuff which I think has stirred things up and made everything worse physically. The CK practitioner, I’ll call her Amy, yesterday agreed with my sense that when I release tension in one place it just moves somewhere else – she pointed out that all the tightness and deep holding my body does is protective (and has served me well as look – I am here!) and so if my body is not ready to give that up it will just move it around. I have another session with Dee this week as I wanted the first two close together, so I will discuss this with her – I think doing some yin yoga poses may be better for releasing deeply held tension, rather than the tennis balls as they are quite strong and very specific in their focus. Although the pain is frustrating, especially as it rules out bike rides, nice walks and the gym at the moment, I am prepared for it to take a while before my body begins to release things, and I am happy for change to be gentle and subtle. It’s bound to take a while before a new practitioner gets how my super-sensitive body responds to things.

So, yesterday was the second CK session which was also great and really healing and I can feel a genuine connection with Amy developing as well – she is such a genuine, warm and open person, and I felt much more able to take this in as I was not in such a shut down place as last week. It was nice to share with her how positive I found the previous session, and how it has provided me with hope – I am like this for a reason and change is possible. Even if it takes a while to get to a place where I feel connected to myself and the world more often than I don’t, it is possible. Yesterday the meridian that needed to be worked with was, again, my healing capacity. It was not as low as at the start of the session last week, which means that some of the work we had done last week had held. We started with the statements from last week:

  • it is safe to be connected to myself
  • it is safe to feel connected to how I am feeling

Neither of them held true for me at the beginning of the session. Stuff that came up was again around kidneys (emotion of fear) and spleen (safety and security). Something that came up very strongly was around it not being safe for me to relax because I need to always be ready for when something bad happens. Through therapy I now know, on a deep level, that in the past it was NOT SAFE for me to relax and have fun – it felt very important to honour that and to remember that how my system is makes sense. Not relaxing and always being prepared for danger helped me tune in to my Mum’s needs and feelings and protect myself as much as possible. My 5 year old part, Miffy, came out (internally, she didn’t speak) expressing a need to have fun and go to a waterpark and get a puppy. The puppy is definitely a future wish – we cannot get a dog at the moment. The waterpark is possible, but not with the knee pain. At this point stuff around the gallbladder meridian came up – this is associated with overwhelm and for me what came up was the sense of always needing to be ready and prepared in case I have to flee somewhere suddenly (which used to happen a lot when I was little as my Mum would have screaming rages that went on for hours and sometimes days and I would need to get my Dad or someone to come and rescue me and, when I got older, I was used to grabbing what stuff I needed and getting out of there as fast as I could). I know through acupuncture and my (basic) knowledge of Chinese medicine that I’ve had issues associated with this meridian before. ‘It is not safe to relax’ came up and I could feel real resistance from a teenage part (Leia, age 14) to the idea of relaxing. Amy held some points on my head associated with the gallbladder meridian and loads of powerful imagery came up and it all involved the dome which K and I built with the help of my younger parts as a safe place for the parts to go to. We made little trees and animals and pink glittery sand and it has sea and a yoga mat and the roof is covered in pictures of plants and flowers. It is such an incredible thing to have made with her, but has not been used as much as I would like it to have been. So it was amazing that it spontaneously arose as an image in my CK session and I cannot wait to tell K about this!

So basically a helter skelter water slide appeared in the dome and lots of the younger ones were going on it and three teenage parts (two 14 and one 15 year old part) were conferring over whether they believed me that it is safe to relax. Eventually I think they did and then Leia (14) was very prominent – she was walking in the sea in the dome and feeling really fed up. She was/is sad because she misses K, so I validated that, as did Amy; of course we miss her after 3 years of contact at least two or three times a week. Who wouldn’t? And Leia was able to take that in. Then she expressed anger over having such a rubbish Mum and Dad that she needed K in the first place. Amy asked what she could do with that anger to release it and Leia touched her fingertips on the water and red flowed out and dissipated across the surface of the water. Amy asked if Leia felt safe with K and I said she did and that Leia felt safe now, in the dome, because it was K’s idea and K helped make it. Then the imagery around the dome faded and it felt okay to leave all the parts there together because they are okay – I wasn’t leaving them because I was abandoning them but because they were okay and looking after each other for a while.

In this session it felt so much like I was really integrating work (understandings and awareness) that K and I have done together. It felt amazing, really amazing. It was reassuring that for Amy working with parts in this way is something familiar. And also I could see how I could not really be doing the work I am doing there now without all the therapy I’ve had. I would have got flooded and overwhelmed and not been able to  contain it afterwards if new stuff was coming up and so on. All the work I’ve done so far in therapy has helped me get to a place where I know and understand my system and what it is I am healing from and why. It is almost like bringing my body up to date with what my mind now knows on a conscious level, and bringing to conscious awareness where things are stuck emotionally/energetically. At the end of the session it definitely felt as though things had shifted. My healing capacity had again increased and when I said the statements from earlier they held true for me and were much more solid. Afterwards I felt lighter and more settled inside.

Although the benefits haven’t lasted as today I feel so groggy and rubbish and in pain, I do feel hopeful that things can change. And because CK is not hands on bodywork it doesn’t trigger compensatory tightness in other areas of my body when things are released. It does seem a very good, gentle and subtle way in to working with the body. I can see that CK will have real benefits over time and yesterday I felt quite excited about what lies ahead. Amy is a very experienced and skillful practitioner and I can imagine developing a real relationship with her. At the same time, the work feels very much about ME, and is about me learning to care for the parts and understand what they need. It will obviously be much less intense than psychotherapy and that feels needed at the moment. I do still definitely want to return to therapy with K in 2020 at some point, depending on where we are both living by then and what is going on for me, but I very much hope if I were to do that then therapy would be more contained and something I do for support and awareness, rather than something that leaves me so often feeling like I am drowning in the depths of what is inside me. I do miss K, I am looking forward to seeing her and telling her about my sessions with these two practitioners and how I have been and how I have looked after everyone. It is a content missing though – I know the next 2 weeks will pass and I am not in any desperate rush to see her. This feels like an okay place to be. I hate being this dissociated, but I am okay.

8 thoughts on “Embodied healing”

  1. I can’t wait to read more about your progress in these areas of bodywork.

    I thought I would throw out there, I use tennis balls in my teaching practice, too. But I know that certain areas trigger me as well, because it is too intense. I’d suggest trying a rolled blanket or bolster for a gentler pressure. For me the blanket was perfect but we are all so different. Just have to try things out and see. 🙂 It’s an exciting journey.

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    1. Ooh, thanks for the tip! When we use rolled up blankets in iyengar I always have to use one instead of two so I should have known tennis balls would make my body freak out! It is an exciting journey and what is nice is knowing there’s time and space for it now so it’s okay if things don’t improve straightaway or get triggered and worse for a while 😊 I hope your sleep has been a little better lately.

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      1. Oo, I have never tried using two. I bet that is intense. You’ve got such a great outlook on this part of your healing journey.
        Sleep has been about the same but thank you for thinking of my sleep.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds really amazing…. I hope the yoga and CK work as they seem they could…. I know I use a therapist who uses energy, I always thought I was wasting my time because I’m not doing any work at all, but reading your post actually is a reminder of the ways it’s helpful to me (specifically because I’m not speaking/sharing anything, rather trying to learn to feel safe in a world).
    Hope this week is a calm one for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I do think energy healing is incredible and also a bit of a relief because there’s not the pressure to share everything. I’ve been amazed by what’s come up and whilst I’ve shared stuff with Amy it’s been about making sense of it for me, not needing her to know and understand me. I love it! X

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your followed blog list amazed me for of your list 2 I don’t follow, 1 of which I’d never seen.
        The second time I spoke to S, a therapist who uses energy, I was freaked out, for she picked up on suicidality and the fact I’ve self harmed – things I rarely share with anyone.
        Sending hugs and strength your way.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s amazing how much highly spiritual and attuned people can intuit from us isn’t it?! I’m glad you found this person. Hugs and strength to you too x

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