I was first intrigued by the idea of bodywork, when reading the book, 'Wild Mind', by Bill Plotkin, my teacher and mentor. In it, he suggested that one way a person could go deeper in their journey was to find a somatic bodywork. Well, being someone who has always been intrigued by the idea of going deeper, I googled somatic bodywork and found Rosen Method and life has never been the same.
I have always been someone who has gone for counselling or various therapies when I've felt I've needed them but I have never ventured into the area that is my body. Heck, I didn't even know that that was an option, or that my previous therapies hadn't ventured there. So, I signed up for a Rosen Method Introductory Weekend Workshop. What surfaced for me was a childhood memory of doing backflips off the edge of the community swimming pool. On this particular occasion, I jumped up and back, but not enough to clear the edge of the pool and I landed on the edge of the pool, on my lower back. I remember it being a very painful experience, sitting on a cushion on the bench at church, crying, but this time I was consciously able to see that little one of me, how hurt she was and how an unconscious decision was made...to never do something that risky again.
Don't take risks!
Don't be wild!
At that moment, I was able to get in touch with what I called my Wild Child, the one of me that likes to live on the edge. She had to get reigned in, shut down, responsibly managed.
I know what you're thinking. A little control is good. Risk taking can be bad. Shouldn't have been doing back flips off the edge anyway. Learn from your pain. Reign it in, that's good too. Don't do it if you are afraid. Lesson learned. You're lucky, it could've been worse.
All true to some degree. The problem is that it's not our conscious minds that decide these things. It happens in that split second before our mind can choose. Our insides choose for us.
I WILL NEVER BE HURT LIKE THAT AGAIN!
Now, the beauty of our inner system is that it can save our lives, over and over again. It works. It protects us, makes us feel better, keeps us safe. The problem is that this system we develop in order to survive, keeps doing it's job, long after we need it to and it operates below our awareness. So, if this childhood mandate to stay safe kept me from ever doing a back flip off the edge of a pool again, and it did, what else might it keep me from doing? Are those things it keeps me from, things that I am now capable of executing (not back flips, still can't execute those) with my adult self?
Let me explain. The edge of a pool is a good analogy. So, my protective, inner management system, kept me from jumping off the edge again, great. Not so great is that my protective, inner management system doesn't discern between which edges are doable and which aren't . It has declared I stay away from ALL edges. So, that means my inner edges as well. For instance, perhaps it's time for me to step out and do something new..that's an edge for me, to put myself out there. Under my awareness is an alarm that goes off.
ALERT!!! ALERT!!! WARNING!! IMMINENT DANGER AHEAD!!! PAIN!!! STEP BACK!!
And, before I've even registered the alarm, I'm stepping back and saying no to stepping out. Now, of course, I will frame it for myself in such a way as to make it look like a noble thing. Perhaps I can't step out right now, people need me. Perhaps it wasn't the thing for me after all. "No, let that person do it, they need it more than me." "You first." "Wow, I am a really awesome, self sacrificing person." I hope you can see me congratulating myself. Disaster averted. No pain for me. Just a nice, safe, non-risky life. Yes!
The problem is, I have a Soul and this is where it gets complicated. My Soul knows that I am here, at this particular time in history, because I have something the world needs, something only I can offer (so, by the way, do you). My soul doesn't want me to play it small. Soul, according to Bill Plotkin and the poet, David Whyte, who both say in various ways, is the largest conversation you're capable of having with the world, it's your own truth at the centre of the image you were born with, it's the shape that waits in the seed of you to grow and spread it's branches against a future sky. Your individual puzzle piece in the Great Mystery. It's the place in the world that only I can fill. Playing it small and staying away from edges will not serve my Soul, or the world.
Trauma happens. We get hurt. Healing our hurt is one of the greatest, most important tasks we will ever do...but serving our Soul is an even greater calling. It's the reason I need to heal, so I can live my Soul into the world.
I guess that's why I think bodywork is so important. We have a hard time figuring out our internalized messages because they happen so fast, under our awareness. Then we frame our newly modified, smaller selves as noble so as to keep ourselves from venturing into that, sometimes overwhelming, pain. We carry big signs saying, "Don't look here" or "Nothing to see here".
So, what did I do with my Wild Child that I found?
I let her out.
I welcomed her.
I grieved for her.
I developed a conscious relationship with this previously unconscious part of myself.
I got to see, first hand, my process when I approach an edge for myself. Now, I can use what I have learned about myself in order to choose what l actually want to do, instead of just running away and calling it noble. I can choose risk, even if it means pain, knowing I have resources to handle both. Plus, I can choose when to be wild, and when it would not serve me, instead of unconsciously shutting everything down. And, I have an answer to some of the low back pain I've had, or to why I needed physio on my back, in my teens.
We are amazing beings. Our ability to survive, to tuck things away, to reframe our experiences and make them more palatable for ourselves is remarkable. Our bodies take on the job of storage facility, toxic waste collector, protecter, management system, as well as storehouse of our incredible potentials, filled with promise, possibilities, and house of our Soul. We store so much more than just our pain, but our pain often keeps us from finding the bigger story we are meant to live. I'm meant to step out, to be curious about my edges, to take some risks, to be a little wild, to live fully, not making excuses for why I'm living small. At some point, the Wild One of me was too risky for me to live. I didn't have the resources to live her into the world. But, it would have been tragic for me to never access her, to keep her stuck deep inside where I still considered her to be a threat to my very existence. There was a time when Wild would have and did, cost me. But now, it would cost me more to lock her down. It's actually physically exhausting to keep ourselves locked down all the time, to keep parts of ourselves hidden, locked away.
That reminds me of the time I found my........oh, well, that's a story for another day.