Coming home . . . again

MFR III Gang 2014

The MFR III Gang atop Airport Mesa, Sedona, Arizona (photo courtesy of my friend Karen)

This is long, but it’s my journey from cocoon to butterfly and it took 3 years 🙂 Never give up. . .

When I came home from MFR III in 2011, it was a bit of a rough entry. The turbulence was what I needed. It broke open an understanding of where my sensitive intuitive nature had been shutting down. I became aware of an old belief: if I stop feeling and anticipating what my kidnapper is feeling and going to do, something really bad will happen. I think I felt some level of control if I could sense what was going to happen next and brace myself for it. Then he did something I couldn’t imagine and I went to a place I didn’t know. I cocooned with this until I was ready for another intensive – my first as a therapist – in December 2013.

My left side bracing had been steadily increasing since 2011. In December 2013, I went to Malvern in hopes of resolving a chronic left foot problem which had pretty much stopped my ability to run. It was an opening, not a resolution. In June 2014, during Advanced Unwinding, John facilitated another opening and I got out of the trunk of the car. I also was pulled out of the back seat and watched it drive away. I felt a sense of completion. The experience of being kidnapped seemed a memory and not a current event anymore. I continue to feel the tethers disentangling from me.

At MFR III this year, my goal came from a sense of “now what?” I felt the urge to continue to integrate a newer feeling of lightness of being and becoming the foam on the wave – but I had left a huge void where the terror and shame had been. I knew I needed to fill it. I didn’t want it to back-fill with old beliefs again. This was too important.

The “now what” became clear, while assisting at Subtle Energy, prior to MFR III. Peggy, our speaker, asked us to ask ourselves what we wanted out of this time here. An answer comes to me – clarity. Then a message, a very clear voice says to me: the healing you are doing in this lifetime is clearing your karmic debt from every lifetime – all of it. This is what you are here for. I feel the enormity of this mission. It is a lot of responsibility. It is important to my essence. I also feel the result of this message. This feeling of actual joy I have been trickling into feels entirely foreign and new and right.

At MFR III, the night of our inner journey unwindings, I stay on my feet the entire hour and a half. I am flying expansively, driving up into the galaxy and diving back down to earth. Then I notice I have no voice. I have been completely silent throughout the unwinding. Sobbing, I go looking for it on the ground. As I crawl around desperately, my inner guide says “look up”. I do and a new sound of sobbing I have not heard before comes out. The sound leads me to standing and I walk through a door. On the other side I meet three spirits. The one says “Welcome home. We’ve been waiting for you.” I feel the middle one downloading information into my head. He says “don’t worry”, sensing my fear, “you will only access this information in your dreams.” I relax. They are still with me strongly now as I write this.

The next day, I am silent as we are out on the rocks. I listen to everyone talking about their insights from last night. I am so glad we don’t have to each say something like we did in 2011.

After class, I went to see my very first therapist at Therapy on the Rocks. She immediately caught on to my automatic anticipation of what was going to happen next. My trust in the process was bigger than my fear and I went into that still point from 2011. I let my kidnapper do what he had done back then and stayed present. Then I escaped to a safe place. I said to my therapist that there were some little bits left but for the most part, that was it. “Yes,” she confirmed, “they’re just breadcrumbs.”

Feeling more spontaneity in my movements, the group unwinding the following day became a demonstration of complete trust in my group, my intuition and the power of the unknown.

I let my energetic body lead and take me off the ground. I am falling, twisting, struggling not to come down. Just before I touch ground, I have the sense of being in my mother’s birth canal. I don’t want to come out. My left shoulder gets stuck coming out, frees itself and I emerge, newborn, lying on my back. I feel betrayed. I didn’t want to come down this time – in this life. Knowledge of what is going to happen in my future – knowing what I am here to do – I just want to crawl back up that birth canal and go back from where I came.

In an instant, I remember a story my mother told me about five years ago. She said that the first week I was home from the hospital, I got myself into snitfits and cried so hard I turned blue. She had no choice but to put my head under a tap of running water to get me breathing again. This happened more than once. She went on to tell me that by the time I was two, we would be out shopping and I’d be set off and she would hold onto my hand until I passed out and then put me back in the cart. As I got older, I no longer cried that hard. My voice had been pretty much silenced by then. But there was only resignation.

Lying on the ground, I grieve for what I have been through. I grieve for the enormity of responsibility for clearing my past karmic debt in this lifetime. Resignation turns into resolve. I say to my group urgently “I need my feet on the ground! I need my feet on the ground!” They let go and I feel them solidly. A new wave of crying. I can’t get up. “Bring your power back into your body,” I hear my inner guide say. I fill my abdomen up and expand out. I try to stand from my supine position. I can’t figure out how to do it. I contemplate going into channel 5 and sitting first. No. I have to stand from my own power. As I fill myself up more, a feeling of acceptance comes in behind the energy and accelerates it. This is what I need and I launch up to my feet from my back. And I fly.

There is some residual resignation and I say to my group, “well if I’m going to be here, I’m glad I’m here with you.” I feel their support and love softly embrace me.

After the group unwinding, we are instructed to go off on John’s property and find a special place for ourselves to be with our power animals. I am ready to go like a horse in a starting gate. We set off and I skip along down to the riverbed. Once there I am no longer skipping – I am flying. I realize there is no one in front of me. A realization hits me. I don’t feel chased – I am leading the way. Instead of fear, I feel exhilaration!

The last day, we do intraoral techniques and I trade with my raven friend. She is on my vomer and I feel the sense of being forced – tissue memory. I get up and I have disappeared somewhere. I don’t know where I’ve gone, but I’m not there in the room. I wander aimlessly, soft and vulnerable. I make eye contact with John and walk slowly towards him. I carefully move into his arms, barely holding on to him. “Can you soften into me a little more?” I let down my guard a bit more and connect. I feel the grounding come into my pelvis and legs. Ami comes over. She is pulling stuff out of the back of me. She says to John she can do some more work with me back at the house. I feel soooo disappointed in myself. I was doing so well! Barbara comes over and I sink into her. She lets me rest my head on her chest and I feel a mother’s love deeper than I have ever felt it before. It is what I need.

In the parking lot, saying good bye, I pull out a heart-shaped rock I found here in June and put it in her hand. I say to her that I need to stay connected to her heart as I go home. It is really, really important. I still feel her now, as the tears roll down my face. . . there are some older breadcrumbs. How do you connect with your heart deeper than you have in this lifetime?

Coming home . . . again is new. In 2011, I cocooned. This time, I am transforming and expanding.

In my hot tub I let myself unwind. I float into a position that feels like I’m in a womb. I feel acceptance of this part of the journey I am about to take – softening into the unknown, now that the terror has been diffused, I softly and without resistance, flow down the birth canal. As I emerge, I feel myself say “this is going to be so cool!” The once seemingly horrible events in my life are filled with an anticipated excitement of what the resulting transformations will be. It’s going to be fantastic!

I am listening to Destiny by Zero 7. As the song plays and I feel the support of my room mates my arms drift together until they’re a foot apart. There is tension between them. I feel the handcuffs. I can’t open or close my arms. Then a voice says “soften”. My torso softens and my hands drift apart – opening. Wow! They stop at a distance and I know they have further to go. I’m looking for another feel. My inner guide says “now move into who you really are”. I have the sense of shifting to the left in my head and mind. My arms open, like wings, and I expand out more.

Mind Games

The Thinker, photo taken at Musee Rodin, Paris

The Thinker, photo taken at Musee Rodin, Paris

There is a dance of trust that happens, between patient and therapist. The therapist’s job is to remain centered, no matter what the patient is sending their way. This helps the patient tremendously as it demonstrates the therapist’s commitment to healing. It also creates a clear and constant mirror for the patient, so they can bring their own avoidance patterns to light. With hands on therapy, this dance goes beyond the trauma of the mind. It directly reveals touch-based trauma like no other form of therapy. It is unavoidable. And it is absolutely essential to healing and forming healthy, intimate relationships.

The following exchange that occurred after treatment, is an example of how the mind can create a barrier to healing. At this point, I have developed a substantial level of trust with my therapist. I have been seeing him monthly for over a year. Even so, my thoughts are determined to create a persona of Dave that makes him incompetent in my mind and therefore, not able to help me further. This judgment goes very deep for me, but I have had a lot of healing happen with Dave, so instead of playing along, I question my thoughts. They don’t coincide with my gut and I know it, despite my initial accusations to Dave. There is a critical time after treatment, where the physical space allows my guard to come down further than in treatment. I give myself enough room to sit with the feelings behind the thoughts and realize I am afraid and attempting to run away.
Here’s the exchange. . .

Hi again,
I had to reread your last response. I don’t feel you are shutting me down – directly. I feel I am sensing you shutting down and that makes me feel like backing off. Does that make sense? Is this real or am I misreading? What do I do with this – real or not?

And I definitely don’t want to see anyone else right now. Unless you kick me out of course. I’m tired of running away. I’ll take terrified over isolated any day 🙂

****
Hi Dave,

Also, I’m getting this feeling that I’m going to hurt you (not physically) if I let all this stuff out. Am I using this as an excuse or is my gut instinct correct or all out of whack. I don’t know what feelings to trust. I’m acutely aware of everything about you as I’m in treatment so my gut is telling me there’s a level of shutdowness I’m feeling from you. What do I do with that if that’s the case?

****
Patti!

You can’t hurt me, I am big enough to take what ever you have to give. You have permission to do or say what ever it is you need to do or say. When you are ready.

You should always honor your gut, but sometimes when we have been shoving stuff down for a long time it is hard to distinguish our true gut feelings from our fear. What is the worst thing that would happen if you just let go?

It is possible that your concern about me is an avoidance tool. I make no judgment. If you truly feel that somehow I am shutting you down, maybe I am not the right therapist for you right now. I don’t think that is the case, but if it is, there is always {gives the name of a female therapist} as an alternative, I’ll be happy to give you her contact info.

I only want what is best for you. Sometimes we take a couple steps back before we go forward.

See you next Wednesday?

****
Dave,

I hear what you are saying.

I confess I am super paranoid about hurting other people. It took me 16 years to make 1 friend I could trust outside of John to say anything to and then I was emailed a “we need to take a break” letter while I was away in Sedona. That was a year and a half ago. I have not recovered yet. Life has only taught me that getting close to people means having your heart ripped out. I believe what I have learned is not right, nor is it constructive. My hope is that you can show me different.

****
Patti!

Perhaps you are mistaking my being with you or me trying to stay out of your way as me shutting down.

MFR is about gentle nudging, maybe I was too gentle.

If you ever think I am shutting down, let me know. You have permission to say or do what ever you want.

I am glad you are not running away.

See you Wednesday!

Remember, more steps forward than back.

Dave
****

After this exchange, I break through an old pattern. In my next treatment, I leave the accusatory thoughts outside the treatment room. Now there is space where my thoughts were and I can sense when I am leaving my body. I come back in on my own and am in there deeper than I have been before. Without the false mistrust, a whole new level of healing begins.

Creative Healing

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South Kaibob Trail, Grand Canyon, Arizona

I have been reading about the varied processes that creative geniuses use to create the new. I am no creative genius, but as I read Fire in the Crucible: Understanding the Process of Creative Genius by John Briggs, I discovered that healing is highly creative, for it requires us to feel and think things we have previously been loath to feel and think. It is new for us. That makes it creative.

I thought to myself “what is my process for healing?” and realized it existed fleetingly and un-articulated; scattered sporadically throughout my mind. My thoughts hurried to prove this was acceptable by noting that the healing process needed to be fluid and changeable – that it shouldn’t be shoved into the mold that writing it down would require. But after a pause, I realized I was blocking myself from going deeply and deliberately into my own healing. After a brief internal debate, I concluded that my healing could benefit from writing down the process as it currently operates, more or less. Well, more of the more than of the less. [sigh] So here it is. . .

At first, it involves feeling discomfort. Sometimes the discomfort comes directly out of a treatment session; sometimes it comes after a period of feeling really good; sometimes it gets triggered from an event or a person; sometimes it comes from a dream; sometimes it simply sneaks up on me when I’m unguarded. The discomfort then leads to seeking relief. There are the usual ways that involve moving away from rather than into healing – [insert list of vices and addictions here]. Then, when exhaustion from avoidance descends, I begin to move into healing through the launch pad of my mind.

I start by reading parts from a bunch of different books. There is a large variety and scope to the information. The larger the gap in relatedness, the better. My nightstand stack gets taller and my Kindle app bulges. At some point, I feel the growing discomfort of repeated dead ends in logic circling the mind shock of too much information. I am mercilessly funneled into the core of the healing process – feeling. I have lost control. The perfect state for healing.

I do not enjoy leaving my head. So healing for me requires that the pain of non-resolution be greater than the pain of not thinking. Once that threshold is reached, I am always surprised that I really don’t mind entering my body for the answers. It seems the painful part was letting go of my mind.

Now feeling the inside of my body, I begin writing out the discomfort in minute detail, confessing to myself at the feeling level, as it unfolds. The writing gives me a safety net for my intellect, so I can ease into the intense sensations without overwhelming myself and shutting down the process completely. It is much like a therapist that says “you can leave your body anytime you need to and then when you’re ready, you can come back in. Remember you’re in charge.” In my own time, I enter the feeling sense of it. The act of deliberate and detailed writing also creates drag in the thoughts coming up. This slowing – much like the physical drag a therapist creates in the body of an unwinding client – allows more depth to the feelings and sensations and prevents me from skipping over certain subtle or previously avoided feelings. I give myself the time to feel each sensation fully.

Self dialogue also becomes easier, as I read back what I have written and mirror my own words back to myself in my head. This process of recycling my thoughts back to myself magnifies the feeling behind the thoughts. It also allows my current self to speak directly to the younger me that is stuck in an earlier, often overwhelming, moment in time. Much as a therapist dialogues with a client, I can sometimes be my own therapist.

The end product of my writing is simply a detailed account of my healing process on all levels, as best as words and my ability to translate the untranslatable can make of it. There is not a lot of intellectualizing or describing my point of view from the level of thinking. The material leaves no space for debate as it is strictly personal. What it accomplishes instead, if the reader is open to it, is a stirring within themselves of their own five senses and the coinciding memories associated with any unresolved moments in time. I like to picture my writing as that of a catalyst – initiating or accelerating the reader’s own healing process.

I posit that most overwhelming feelings and memories we have are set aside, until, too painful to ignore, we let ourselves be nudged into opening our rightly scared eyes and experiencing – fully – the shocks in our lives. Reading and feeling another’s process can provide such a nudge. I know this to be true because when I feel stalled, I wander back and read the posts of other healing journeys. It inadvertently triggers my own process. Especially the more vulnerable postings. The ones that are obviously direct distillations and not the thoughts of another.

So . . . I write only when I feel ready to commit, completely and deeply, to feeling what comes up from the writing. It requires me to pause before I type. It requires adherence to uniqueness (I’m continually examining my words to make sure they are coming from me directly and that I have not become lazy and inserted well used (and mindless) words and phrases instead – this is really hard to do and involves a lot of backspacing!) Even so, the composition is essentially finished in the first writing. It is written and experienced at the same time, so it is unfolding physically, emotionally and thoughtfully as I write. This means some physical and emotional releases come up while writing and require a pause to fully process them. Sometimes I write down the feel of the release as a reinforcement that it has just happened. Then, once the wave of the release is past, there is a feeling of a soft, still space and I pause there too. The words flow then, out of that space and continue where they may.

I write very infrequently. But when I do write, it is deeply accurate to me. I need the firmness of detailed writing and cannot tolerate the lightness and incompleteness of the quick and superfluous. Some can write deeply and quickly. I cannot.

At first this lead me to believe I was a huge procrastinator and I berated myself regularly for not healing and not writing (I see the writing as a responsibility to give back what I have received through my myofascial treatments and through books I have read that have helped me). As I became more comfortable with my writing, I realized there were a long line of activities going on that fed the finished product on the page.

Sometimes I would go for a run or be in the shower, or doing yard work, or working in the kitchen, or some other physically active thing – and I would have an insight. I would think – that was an amazing thought! I want to write it down! Then the thought would float away and I would be disappointed with myself that I had not captured it. Over time, I became less self effacing about these escaped thoughts and told myself that if they really were fully formed in me, I would be able to call them up at will. I had to trust that they were part of a bigger process going on inside and around me that was building up to an even more evolved idea. Even now, I feel at the cusp of a big breakthrough in the resolution of the beliefs I have around my kidnapping. I feel that there are unknown thoughts about such a thing that have not been put into words by anyone yet and that these un-articulated thoughts will reveal themselves at the moment they become resolved in my own body.

It may take some time, but the excitement of being at the cusp of new thoughts endures beyond my many lulls.

Now that you have made it successfully to the end of my tome, I ask you, what is your healing process?

Resolving Thoughts of Suicide

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Picture taken at the garden of Musee Rodin, Paris, France. August 2013

Once the big shocks of trauma and many of the symptoms of post traumatic stress resolved, a new layer emerged. It was there all along, but hidden under nightmares, hyper vigilance, outbursts of rage, and short term memory problems. That layer was a strong feeling and thoughts of wanting to kill myself. I understood the process of healing and realized I needed to go deeper to resolve it. Relying on the courage and skill of my therapist and the help of a group I call the MFR Tribe, I was able to get to the bottom of very serious feelings and thoughts of suicide. The lasting effects of resolution are still evident 6 years later. 

Building on my increasing skill at healing – it takes practice and I was two years into treatment – I had gained enough trust in the process and my therapist to reach out, deliberately decide not to kill myself and instead go into the feeling of dying. My therapist was able to steer my persistent thoughts back to feeling my body – which is where the resolution ultimately happened.

It is entirely possible to be free from thoughts of suicide, but to do so requires a highly centered therapist, skilled in this specific area. It cannot be done alone or with someone who cannot remain centered until resolution happens. It also must be initiated by the suicidal person and not the therapist. The healing process cannot be forced and the suicidal person has to take the lead. The power has to be firmly in their hands.

Here is a look inside the process . . .

I began to feel suicidal after a treatment and the next day, sent this email to my therapist.

February 28, 2007
Hi Dave,

I was glad to see your email on MFR Talk. It snapped me back from wherever I was after my last treatment – which was not particularly present. Thank you.

I find myself saying/feeling the words “this work has changed my life” to more and more people. Everything else I read and learn pales in comparison. It does not get at the heart of the matter.

Having said that, I have found the heart of the matter of what continually leads me in a downward spiral. It is a feeling of profound isolation. Of total disconnection with everyone and everything. I have never come back to my body – only visited like one visits a grave site. I am continually asking myself what I’m still doing alive, because I’m supposed to be dead. I’m a walking dead person! I know that until I relive (or undie?), you and I are merely treating a body with no soul and that is not fair to you or me. I also know that transcending this will be a big step forward.

So the question is, how do I get to this place or what is the question I should be asking myself or . . . yep, totally stuck here. I know that this work has changed my life and so I have faith that it is the way through. Any advice you can give will be gladly received.

****
From Dave:
March 1, 2007
Just time for a short answer now, things did not feel complete last appointment, you may have noticed me hovering around as you left.

Just to be safe do we need to include another health care provider? or counselor?

Assuming not, how does it feel to be stuck?  What does it look like to be unstuck?  You say it is like visiting a grave site, do you need to “be in the grave”?

Do you need a 2 week intensive with John?

May I put out the body of your letter, without name or any form of identification on the chat line?

More later

Dave
****
March 1, 2007
Hi Dave,
Thank you for your quick reply. I sat with the questions you provided last night. There were two things that came up. The first is that stuck feels hard and dry like a rock in my jaw eating into the center of my head. It also feels like being stuck standing, facing a corner in a room with no way out. I want to feel what unstuck feels like but so far I just wait.

The second thing was visiting myself as if visiting a grave site. I feel like I’m continually trying to feel in my body only to find it feels dead. Very cold in my throat and solar plexus, yet burning in my solar plexus. Then I feel the isolation.

Yes, please post. Anything would be helpful and I’m not in a position to post myself. I’ll be able to read any replies directly.

The other component of this is what I like to call my logical mind clinging to the past. If I feel the feelings of isolation then I can remain in my small cocoon. Then I make it tangible by establishing new relationships with people and then have them “abandon” me. I’ve worked on this with my psychologist in the past, but we’re pretty much at a dead end now. So I’ve just come to accept that I will always feel isolation. Fortunately my body rebels at this so all I can do is just keep searching for a way out. This is where MFR comes in. I feel connections now that I’ve been to Sedona. This has never happened before. I want to go back. When I saw the cancellation in March I felt sad because I want to go back but have various excuses not too (family, money, the usual).

I apologize if this is too much information. I just needed to get it out in black and white and I trust you.

Thank you for caring.
Patti
****
This is what some call the Dark Night of the Soul. It is not a fun place to be. I wanted to just be left alone, but could barely stand the feeling of it. Talk of people’s happiness and how wonderful life was just intensified the feeling of isolation, so it was best to be alone or to be with Dave – a person who had the capacity to just allow me to be. This created an atmosphere of engagement and non-resistance, which interrupted my feelings of isolation and created a safe space where I could feel below death.

****
From: Dave

Friday, March 2, 2007

Patti!

Have you seen the wave of support out there for you, even though they don’t know who you are. I hope some of the responses have been helpful.

The other thing to try is to feel it even deeper, when you have an appropriate time, like holding on to an object tighter and tighter. Hold on to it so tight that eventually you just have to let go.

Please let me know how you are doing.

Dave

****
The number of responses that came from Dave’s help request on MFR Chat stunned me. People who didn’t know me but understood what I was feeling because they had been there themselves. Then Sheila posted the question “What if you WERE dead? How would that feel?” This prompted a feeling of falling into a deep, cold, black void. I felt my body and mind resisting the feeling, but I was losing my grip fast.

I called Dave. He guided me down into that void. Into the feeling of death. I felt intense fear and softened and allowed the feeling. I felt under the coldness. Then something shifted. There was light and warmth under the coldness of the void.

This all happened in a short phone conversation. It was all I needed. That final nudge to feel what was under the void. I had never thought there was anything good under it; and I had resisted it all these decades, for fear of dying, yet never knowing I could challenge my fear of death simply by feeling it go through my body – quite safely – without having to kill myself to experience it. Huh.

Feeling beyond the previous “dead end” into something that felt good, my mind no longer needed to search for a reason for the dead feeling and I stopped thinking about killing myself.
****
March 8, 2007

Dave,

I started to journal my unwinding adventure and discovered I had no need to because I FEEL it’s affects. Words would dampen the intensity. Needless to say, I now know I can go to the places of my worst nightmares and you will be there cheering me on. That is the most powerful thing one person can do for another human being. 

So thank you for being there, in the middle of all that, guiding me with your big heart, comforting arms and compassionate words. Thank you for bringing me back from the abyss – finally, I feel alive!!

Now I can spend my vacation getting used to my new body! It feels strange and new and wonderful!

And I am actually feeling excited about the next time. That’s new too.

And please say a big thank you to the wonderful people who sent their encouragement. I could feel their support and it allowed me to summon my courage to feel into the fear.

Until next time,

Patti

****

Dave’s email to the MFR Chatline:

March 8,2007
Subject: “Dave’s Client” clatient?

Details would be inappropriate, but I want to say thank you to all of you for your kind and wise words and your support.

Be easy with your self.

Dave

PS We use different terms to refer to the folks that we try to help in a professional way. Both patient and client can be pejorative. One term is associated needing care which may imply a level of dependence and the other is associated with an impersonal exchange for service solely for financial gain. I’d like to suggest the compromise “clatient”.

Out of my head and into my body

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Before I left Sedona after my second intensive treatment program, John referred me to, of all people, a male therapist in Michigan. I trusted the depth of resolution I’d had in my treatments and so I trusted John’s recommendation and set up my first appointment shortly after returning.

It was a giant step for me and one that has paid off in so many ways. Dave has been my source of constant reinforcement of the principals of healing I was just beginning to grasp. He has remained neutral and supportive, no matter what horrific or odd assortment of memories, feelings, emotions and positions in space that happened to be coming to the surface. Most importantly, he continually got me out of my head and back in my body so I could continue to soften the grip I had on the past.

A year after my first appointment, I sent Dave this email. It is my first record of writing anything down and it rightly displays the interaction I have with him. It also demonstrates what happens when a client begins to embody healing and fully take the reigns in their own treatment. Have a read . . .

Hi Dave,

I wanted to let you know that you have helped tremendously in bringing me to a new depth of healing. Your gentleness, caring and humor have been most important in bringing me to now. All my life, even before the time I remember, I have felt pushed. You have quite uniquely found the balancing place just behind me, where I can grow under my own control. This is so important that you have done this you can’t imagine – this ‘having only support’ – nothing else. Because nothing else is needed. It has helped me to find my power.

Now that I’m coming to that place with your support, I had my best self-unwinding yet the very next morning after seeing you. I was easy with myself, like you’ve coached, and softened into the place where I could unwind. This time it was not frightening. It was like I was below the frightened part and no longer freaking myself out. All the things I had been taught by you and others; all the information I had read; all the experiences of unwinding I’d had were suddenly second nature. I did not have to think – I just felt! I should also say that the other thing that got me to unwind myself was that the night before I was not feeling well. I felt very depressed and tired. I was feeling that no one else got this concept except the very few who do this work. I went to bed, slept, woke up early and started to feel the enormity of all the things that had ever happened to me, to my mom, to my sister, to my mom’s mom . . . I saw the cycle, the pattern that had unfolded to this date. It felt hopeless. Then, feeling cornered with no way out, I realized that my rational brain was creating all these thoughts. It was creating an elaborate shield to hide the truth from my intuitive and emotional selves. Then my emotional self would pitch in too and block my intuitive self. I couldn’t believe what I was realizing! So then I literally had a stern but caring conversation with my rational self. I said, “you have done an outstanding job. You kept me safe when it really counted. You kept my body still when moving would have meant pain. You kept me unemotional when crying would have escalated to injury. You focused on remembering every single little detail so that the information could be used for my benefit. You are unbelievably fantastic at what you do. You have gotten me to here in one piece. And now it’s time for you to take a rest; to move out of the way so I can heal. Let the emotional and intuitive parts do the job they’re meant to do. It’s safe now for the other parts to do their work.”

After that conversation with myself (that’s so cool that humans can do that) the unwinding was immediate. Feelings that my emotional self wanted to feel but could not at the time, came out. Movement my intuitive self wanted to make, happened. Every so often my rational self would have an aha moment and then step back again. And back and forth it went between the three parts – each sharing with the other – harmonious – cooperative – FINALLY!!

I hope that you benefit from this information Dave. I want you to know that you are a very gifted therapist and that you are helping me in a very big way.

All I can do is say, Thank You.

Patti

p.s. when self unwinding I learned I only need two things: a pillow for my head and a LOT of Kleenex 🙂

Authentic Healing

anais nin

Before treatment, I lived life by forgetting and moving on. Then life caught up with me and I began to resist and hold on tightly to what I had built. Then, life handed me a third option – authentic healing. The kind where I get to heal myself. This time, I had skilled, intuitive therapists guiding me; guiding me into the body I had deserted; reintroducing me to safe touch; coaxing my mind to get out of the way so I could heal; giving me permission to do what I needed to do, physically, emotionally, and intuitively, in order to resolve what I thought was unresolvable. The dead ends I believed and felt to be true became openings to a flexibility and power I did not know I possessed.

What occurred in the following three years after those two intensive treatments, now that I look back, could not have been planned any better. If someone had told me this is how I would heal, I would have said, no thanks. It was both frightening and exhilarating; frustrating, yet easy. When given the choice between bracing/numbing and softening/letting go, therapists persistently and gently remained at each physical, emotional and false belief-ridden barrier until I realized – on my own – that letting go was indeed my best option. Many times, I would face myself and fight myself at the same time. I was so tightly connected to my beliefs and fear, and loath to change, even when in deep emotional and physical pain. The pain fueled my perseverance and steered me squarely into a barrier I was too tired of fighting anymore. Exhausted, giving up the fight, I would feel into what I had believed was too hard or scary to feel. Afterward, feeling so much better, I would wonder why I had resisted with such resolve. Eventually, not trusting, getting results, then trusting, I resisted less and allowed more. In an open arena where I was always given the choice to resist or allow; engage or not; feel or not feel; be in my body and leave when I wanted – everything was possible and nothing I introduced from my horrible past was out of bounds. When stalled in my treatment sessions, the therapist would sense this and gently nudge with dialogue, sound, words, or a slap (not really a slap – this one is best left for it’s own blog post). There was never force unless there was an equal meeting of force by me. There was no bargaining, cajoling or directing by therapists of what I should do. They were showing me my own built in healing mechanisms. They were teaching me not to be afraid of them; not to be afraid of my body doing it’s own healing. Not to shut it down and let it continue to completion.

On my own individual route to healing, I learned, through trial and error with the outcomes I was getting. I experienced going into a session with no expectation or judgment as to how I would achieve my goals. Feeling improvement, I gained the confidence and trust to write down and say out loud what I wanted for myself. “I want to feel safe. I want to feel calm. I want to trust men again.” Then, once again fearful and anticipating failure, I would go into a session and have the feelings of threat, anxiety and fear immediately come up. Still, my therapists never stopped encouraging me to tap into my own powerful intuition. In an entirely neutral atmosphere, where there was neither a shutting down nor a forcing through of the healing process – trust in myself flickered to life. Tentative at first. Always bracing initially and softening secondarily. It took two years before trust in myself became the dominant state in my treatments. Trusting the process and softening into what was coming up instead of bracing against it.

Although I wanted it to be a straight, logical path, that was not how the essence of me needed to get there. I had to learn, through iterations, how to trust myself, my body, the therapist, the healing process, the next moment. The path unfolded how it needed to in order for the healing to feel genuine; in order for it to stand the test of time and the interaction of living. I now have great respect for my body – that it decided for me that holding on wasn’t my best option.

Before the John Barne’s Myofascial Release Approach to life, I lived with the following approach: shove the bad events and feelings down out of the way, force yourself to get up and move on – that’s how you get over the past; don’t pull people down by mentioning anything negative from the past – keep it to yourself, it does you no good to bring it up (This is true if the other person is not equipped to facilitate healing, but the lack of trust to tell your story becomes ingrained. So it becomes best not to say anything to anyone, even therapists.); follow the advice of the experts, because you can’t trust yourself – you know less about your own healing than they do.

Gradually, I developed the habits of a healthy approach to life, embodied consistently and perpetually in the John Barnes Myofascial Release Approach: never force, never lead, never tell anyone what to do, feeling is healing, trust the healing process happening spontaneously in you.

Journey Home

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West River Road

In retrospect, I (meaning my ego) went into my first two week intensive kicking and screaming really. It took until day three before I realized my neat and tidy idea of going to Sedona to get fixed and come home all better was not how life worked. I have this realization in the shower that morning of day three. I am hit with the absoluteness of knowing the truth – that this is a lifelong process. It feels like a life sentence and I cry in resignation, grieving the loss of my old way of living. There is no going back to the old way, even if I wanted to. The old way is craziness. It is swimming up stream and although this new way is scary, uncomfortable and requires continual participation, I accept it. I feel out my options and to me it feels worse to go back than it does to continue on. Yes, life is indeed the only journey and I choose real life. I choose authentic healing.

At the end of my two weeks I panic. I wish I could stay for three. I’m not ready to go home. My husband will not understand. How do I be this new person? I read a handout that is given to me in the take home package. In there are some comforting words that I will read over and over again back home. The most important. Go slow. Go slow. Go slow. I am given hugs by the staff and then quietly make myself small and disappear. Sadness consumes me and I go. I feel lost. I feel I have no home. I do not call the therapist they have referred me to for followup back home.

At home I barely make contact with my husband or my kids. I am sick in bed for ten days. I am raw and questioning what happened when I was there. I read John’s book again. I read the information I was given. I get stuck and then feel my way through a deep, deep depression. I have been here before, yet my body is responding with emotion this time. Not so frozen and stuck.

Gradually life becomes more liveable than before I had gone away. I still spend as little time as possible with my husband (don’t worry, there is a happy ending post coming), but I was connecting to my children in a new way that I hadn’t quite figured out how to convey to them.
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I was still very much attached to my male friend at work. I decided that if he was with me, I could confront a few fears from the past. I asked if he could drive me to the place where I was abducted and make the route to the motel in Niagara Falls. He seemed honored. Applying the healing process I had learned to real life proved powerful. The one thing I did not want to do was go back to that place. So I did. I walked to the spot on the road and along the ditch. I stopped and looked and felt the inside of my body. My friend walked up to me and asked if I was ok. “I don’t feel so good,” I said. I felt this huge rush of fear and nausea come up and out of me. I started to shake. My friend held me. I shook harder and harder. My teeth chattered. “You’re shaking all over!” he exclaimed, fear in his voice. Yet he knew enough not to shut me down.
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He drove me along the most likely route to Niagara Falls from there. Memories of the feel of the road put me back in the trunk of the car. Sitting in the passenger seat, I could feel the sunglasses I had been made to wear. I felt the fear continue to flow through me. There was a rise in the road and as the road peaked, I caught a glimpse of the Skylon. The tall tower which is a landmark of Niagara Falls. I count: two thousand and one, two thousand and two, then it is lost behind some trees. I am in awe as I realize that for the two seconds I had risked a glance at the road when I was being abducted, the Skylon is what I had seen. Seeing it had given me the information I needed to know where I was heading. How, in those two seconds, did I know to take a risk, open my eyes and look? I absorb the enormity of the power of gut instinct.
skylon
Inside the motel room, it is different. I can no longer stay in my body. I analyze the room, drawing comparisons from what I could glimpse from under the blindfold. It seems to be more or less match what I remembered. Spatially, it feels different, but then I did not have my entire visual field available then. I merge the old memory with the current. I have left most of my body here. It is not coming home with me. But the part left on the road by my bike is with me now and that is enough.

I process as much as I can. The gnawing anxiety that ping ponged inside me about confronting the past has significantly diminished. Throughout the next few months I bring my bike and ride the route. Each time, a new emotion, and its expression, find their way out of me. I finish the route I did not get to finish and get to the top of a hill with my favourite view. I sit and feel myself inside my body. A calm has settled in. I look out and see the expansive view. It looks like a postcard. Then I feel it with my body and the view becomes substantial. It goes from postcard to real life in an instant. So this is what the world looks like.
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