There are places a patient goes, that only they can go. Like all new experiences of healing, I went into a habitual pattern at first. Then, with the guidance of the therapist, with a few nudges, was able to go into a space sense I had been unknowingly avoiding. This one is different, because it involved what I will call a reverse nudge – the therapist let up the moment I began to pull him in. It made me acutely aware of my dependence on him to go with me into a fearful place, when really my power lay in going in on my own. The level of sensitivity at the fascial barrier created a physical reminder of presence without invading and without making it a crutch. I knew I was completely safe to go into the feeling of being blind to what would happen next. It calmed my need to anticipate; to grasp.
It is important for the reader to know, this understanding is in retrospect. My perception at the time was to blame the therapist because he wasn’t staying at the barrier. There was a two year gap between the blaming and the understanding. MFR therapists are centered and know the blame has nothing to do with them. They remain centered – ready for the first feel of a shift in the client. A shift that they follow so the client knows “this is a healing path”. A healing path was completely foreign to me but familiar to my therapists. The consistency of being continually, yet gently, nudged towards the path despite the extraneous complaints from my intellect, was essential to me “feeling the path” at progressively deeper levels. My desire to get better and a deep knowing that this was working, was what kept me at it and kept my criticisms mostly to myself (not that it would have mattered to my centered therapists).
In the following email entry, notice the ego judging and the shift into actual healing.
It went down this way . . .
I’m sitting in John’s room in Sedona for the first time. Actually I’m pacing and then 4 SES’s (Skill Enhancement Seminar therapists) come in and I have to sit on the table. After what seems like an excruciatingly long time John comes in. I feel that he is making himself very small for me. This is all I feel ’cause I’m not in my body – only noticing everything outside of me – always alert to danger. After assessment and a few fruitless attempts in various positions he has me on my stomach with his hands directly pressing on my diaphragm. I hear him instructing the other therapists to put their hands on his and push down. Intense fear – more than I feel I have ever experienced surges in me and then is gone. I lay motionless. Then I hear John give this whooping sound like he’s cheering at a ball game and then the door opens and closes. I hear one of the therapists say “in all my years I’ve never seen John leave the room”, then lots of murmurs. He comes back in a few minutes later and starts working with me again. Not long after he asks everyone to leave. I am not afraid but I’m sure my body speaks this because just as I feel I am getting somewhere he stops. Just when I am about to deep dive into the very nasty places I desperately want to go, but not by myself . . . then the feeling washes over me that I am hurting him. That he does not want to go with me to this place. A voice in my head says “you’re on your own kid” and a dark vacuous void surrounds me. I’m the only one who can go here. No one can go with me. No one can help me. It is only me. But I am not strong enough and so I feel only a drowning void – the very same feeling I felt when I could no longer memorize the number and direction of turns the car that was taking me away was making. No one knows where I am. I don’t know where I am and I have no reason to believe I will be alive this time tomorrow.
This was my first taste of the drowning void, but it was enough to set off a series of progressively deeper dives into the feeling over the next several years. In 2007, being at the edge of the void again, I went into it, despite my intellectual defenses retaliating. They didn’t seem to be as strong as they were after being recently challenged (Mind Games). Even so, I attribute my new, easier dive into the void to the superior competence of my therapist and the idea that he is “making” me feel the void.
“I tell you all this because, even in a phone call, you are able to bring me into that void. Where I need to be. But you are also able to stay with me and follow where I need to go. This is unique in my MFR experience and I feel it is very healing. Thank you for making me feel the void. Thank you for going with me to these dark places. When I am able feel this I also feel the intensity of living and it is beautiful!”
A centered MFR therapist is a centered MFR therapist, yet my mind continues to insist on comparing them hierarchically.
The following week I feel safe enough to go in without Dave . . . with no one for my ego to latch onto, I feel my own power.
“I went into the void again at my “favourite” time of the day 2:00 a.m. For the very first time I felt the power of it. Almost instantly my belief that alone = powerlessness fell away and I realized, with some shock, the enormity of what I had done to survive. There was no luck involved. I survived because I was fully capable of surviving. I am living right now because I have lead myself here.
I will listen now, with deep respect, to that voice, that feeling that knows how to conquer what seem like insurmountable obstacles. I will not doubt it.
Thank you for guiding me, gently, to listen.
This is so cool!!”
Dave’s response is characteristic of a centered therapist.
“As I have said in the past, you do the work, I just kind of hang out.
Your words touch me deeply and help with my healing.”