Healing in a Dream

Sea of People. Photo taken at my first Michigan/Michigan State football game.

Sea of People. Photo taken at my first Michigan/Michigan State football game.

The first time I received healing treatment in a dream was two years into my myofascial treatments. Speaking with others, it seems it is not uncommon. Therapists or anyone else appear in dreams and treat you. It feels real. On waking, the benefits of the session are felt just as they would in a waking session. Here was my first treatment dream . . .

I am in a dark hallway that appears much like a school hallway – sterile floors and walls. John Barnes is there. He says “come with me” and takes me aside as if there are other people there and he is herding me to a place where we won’t be disturbed. He has me sit in a chair and has me hold up my leg. He applies pressure to the sole of my foot and my right leg starts to unwind, pushing out against his pressure, shaking and moving. “That’s it”, he gently encourages. He does this for my left leg next and again it unwinds and pushes outward. I notice that a recent strain in my calf in real life is releasing as I do this.

I feel some relief (my legs have felt weak and shaky since my last MFR session four days ago). Then John sits on the chair and directs me to sit on his lap, my back to him and proceeds to wrap his arms around me – pinning my arms to my sides in a bear hug. He applies pressure and I immediately feel uncomfortable – trapped. I start to resist and then feel a tremendous surge of energy pouring out of me and I feel John pulling it out of me too. He is whispering in my ear “come on”, but with some urgency in his voice like a combination of ‘get out of there you dang stuck energy’ – and – ‘keep doing what you’re doing and don’t stop.’ I feel the energy exiting and trailing off. Then he says “okay” and I get up. We are done and walking side by side.

Someone in front of us calls him and we are interrupted. He stops to speak with this person. I turn, put my head down, and walk the other way. I think to myself ‘why can’t you stick around to say thank you.’ I am feeling a very familiar dejected feeling – I don’t deserve any more time – it was right to be interrupted. Just then John calls to me and says, quite matter of fact: “if you don’t tell them, no one will know how you did it”. He smiles playfully almost – like a challenge. Right then I get a thought that says “of course!” Your experiences of suffering and healing can be an example for others, so they can create their own maps.

—-

I woke up and felt stronger and more relaxed. My legs felt great and my purpose fully energized. Cemented in my mind was the feeling of the pressure of John’s arms around me and the surge of energy being freed from my body. To me that is the essence of this work: re-starting stalled self-healing by engaging the client’s barrier and gently encouraging them to let go into their own internal healing process.

NB: This dream came when I was debating whether or not to take my first series of John Barnes’ Myofascial Release seminars. I had felt alienated at my first seminar as a student and was having serious doubts about conforming to a certain way of doing things that was not my own.

What the feeling in the dream helped me realize, was that I was going to need the experience of being in a safe community of people coming up to my barrier, gently sitting at it and not swallowing me up so I would become lost. Holding gently, then setting me free. I would need to feel a sea of unique people connecting in synchrony – creating something powerful that could not be done solo. I would need to experience the sense of a community healing together.

Second, I realized that I had an unrecognized need to share my experience of healing – specifically to help encourage others to engage in their own experiences of healing. The way John says this “if you don’t tell them, no one will know how you did it” – he is matter of fact about it. In an “of course this is the next step” kind of way.

At the time of this dream I had only met John once. I have had very few dreams where I have felt like it was physically real, so when I do, I listen to them. It’s my mind’s way of telling me – listen up! This is really important!

What’s most important for me in any dream is not the analysis of the content. It is the feel that drives what I do when I wake up.

Birthday Reflection

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The Dark Horse, Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, Sedona, Arizona

I’ve been waiting nine years to live this scenario . . .

Friend: “Happy Birthday Patti!”
Me: “yes, it is!”

Now, fully in my body and living in the rich and subtle depths of my essence, the joy of the past year runs through me and I feel forward, with excited anticipation, into the mystery of what this year is creating. And I plan on participating every day, not just on my birthday, in every moment that unfolds – even the ones when I’m asleep (that may sound odd, but the dream state is one I have sloughed off, yet it is rich with life too; I live a whole other day there). I plan on softening more, having more fun, physically unwinding into the wavy, vibrant movements of what’s around me – the peaks and the troughs. They all have potential.

I used to have very few feel good days. Then I would attempt to freeze the feeling in time, only to be kicked out and laid flat. I laid motionless a lot of the time. Afraid to move, lest the good feeling disappear. Not realizing my lack of movement caused the litany of pain and suffering. This is of course the starting point of many a healing journey.

Nine years ago today, I walked into Therapy on the Rocks in Sedona, Arizona, completely disconnected from my family, friends, co-workers, life. I was suffering miserably. It took a lot of suffering and the maximum amount of desperation to create just enough energy to walk into an unfamiliar environment and open myself to a totally foreign form of healing. Now, nine years later, it feels like a full circle has come to completion. There is closure of not just a chapter, but a book of a journey.

So this year, I am planning on having a lot of fun writing out this crazy journey I’ve taken and packaging it in one neatly bound hardcover. I emphasize the fun part, because I’ve found that keeping anything creative and unexpected means it requires lots and lots of fun. Expression breathes the air of movement and this story is about moving people. Maybe I’ll call it “The Catalyst”:)

A wise man once said “nature abhors a void”. Clearing all that heavy stuck trauma over the years created a crater sized void. It’s been accumulating. If I don’t fill it, I might just fall in and disappear into blissful nothingness. Now what’s the fun in keeping that all to myself? No, it’s time to fill the void with something lighter, richer, kinder, softer, authentic, and powerful in a centered kind of way.

I feel the tug of giving back what I’ve been given, in my own, unique way. My inner guide (a playful, girlish slight of a thing with an unassuming yet kick ass power) is taking my hand and leading me into some fun adventures. Writing was the first one, which I’ve been doing with her for a few years now. Dream catching is the newest adventure. I don’t know much about it, but it sounds intriguing doesn’t it?

Happy Birthday: yes, it is.

Birth Day

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Note: this is not me, but it could be . . .

Yesterday, I had this great post written about how wonderful it was to actually be present in my body and to be looking forward to a happy birthday (which I still am). I also wrote about the things I wanted to do this year and how I am going to take the world by storm (which I still will).

But . . . this morning I woke up from a dream of a tornado. It’s a recurring dream I’ve had for decades. It has changed significantly over the years. For the first time, the house I was in is not my own but an unfamiliar one. I see the tornado through the window and go down to the basement. I call out to the girls and John. No one answers. I’m not worried. I know they’re not in the house. I feel the tornado hit, but it does no damage. I take this to mean “a storm’s a comin'” but I am solid enough to withstand being tossed about. Each time I have the dream, it feels less traumatic, but I still don’t like it.

I am stiff in my upper body and reach for the ball on my bedside table and lay on it. I’m too much in my head to get deep releases. I think my way under the tightness. I am in my body, but only just below the surface. Plan B, I go out to the hottub and sit in it for a while, looking into the sunrise hoping nature will help connect me. Nope, no one’s home yet. I have a shower, which is my safest place – still nothing. On to Plan D . . . I go back to bed and do what I’ll call my special unwinding. It’s one I brought back from my recent intensive treatment in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It’s one I’m writing down, knowing it will help a lot of people. Saving that for later.

This unwinding works for me. I have a big emotional and physical “thawing” release and come softly back into my body. Success. I am in my body on my birthday. I wonder if I’ve ever been this fully “in there” on this day. This is so cool.

What do I feel first? My body/mind goes back to a new unwinding I had in Malvern (not the one I mentioned above, another new one). On day 8 of 10, I was open enough to trust myself and the participants in the group unwinding. I took a floating dive into the floor, head and left shoulder first. It had a familiar feeling. My shoulder felt stuck on something. I felt pressure on the top of my head and I reflexively pushed – through – holy shit, I’m being born! I felt the cool air on my head. I was none too happy – it was too cold and bright! I cried hard.

I’ve seen a birth unwinding before, so I wasn’t completely freaked out. It was pretty cool actually. Afterward, I was much calmer and I could feel my lower half more solidly on the ground.

I apologize Mom, for being such an angry baby. I was not happy to be out of your warm, comfy womb. My first week home, I cried so hard, I would hold my breath and turn blue. Mom would have to put my face under the tap so the water would shock me into breathing again. Later on, when I was two, we would be out shopping and something (who knows what) would trigger me. I would start crying so hard I’d hold my breath. Mom would hold my hand until I passed out and then put me in the cart. I’m guessing I was needing something, but couldn’t communicate what it was. Or perhaps I never recovered from the trauma of being born. Either way, I wasn’t getting this illusory need met and I wanted it met BADLY.

My husband John can attest to my tenaciousness. I do eventually get what I want. I’m not one to give up. What I’ve learned however, is to know what my true self wants – not by manipulating or cajoling others, or by holding my breath – but by turning inward and asking my inner guide. Asking, then becoming still and listening for the answer coming from inside.

It took years of clearing the noise of trauma before I could hear my inner guide. It is getting easier and clearer to hear.

The challenge recently has been to agree to follow my inner guide’s guidance. I resisted at first, feeling like a puppet, which felt traumatic. Then I cleared more and more of the trapped feeling I’d been carrying around. Gradually, I began to move freely in my home and outside of it. The requests my inner guide was making became easier to follow. My actions became more spontaneous and natural.

So today, on my birthday, I am happy I was born. The outside world does not feel too cold or bright. I know what the real me inside wants and I am moving more freely into that. With each piece of the past I clear, my actions become easier, freer and fun! It’s a good place to start a new, take the world by storm, kind of year.

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