Updated: Feb 9, 2021
I've been on this interesting ride the past decade. It wasn't anything I had planned for. Not on any 5 year plan, to do list, or vision board. It's only in looking back, really, that I can see all these experiences were woven together in just the right way, at just the right time, to bring me to where I am now.
For those who don't know, I started out in the profession of physical therapy in 2003 and practiced for 16 years before truly stepping into the work I do now, which you can read more about here www.mb1wellness.com/embodiment-sessions I wanted to share this story of how the many threads of my work come together to empower others in their own healing journey.
Back in October, our dear friends planned a corona-style outdoor hike for their daughter's birthday. Just our small pod of families to spend time together to celebrate safely. And as the date got closer I found myself experiencing a mounting sense anxiety. My knee and low back had been acting up, the residue of being a gymnast. Part of me began worrying, would this hike flare up my pain, the pain that's been aggravated in the past from too much activity? Would it make me unable to enjoy time with my kids because I'd be too uncomfortable? Another part of me began to worry about packing snacks - some for my husband who has type 1 diabetes, in case he had low blood sugar, and others for my daughter who has multiple food allergies. And on and on it went.
In the past, I would have prepared for the day with the worry as an ever present nagging in my chest, my throat. Hoping to get through it and onto the other side before I could exhale, and know we were all good. But thanks to this meandering path I've been on through trauma healing, energy, and embodiment, I was able to pull out of my familiar groove. This time, instead of plowing through, planning, preparing and perseverating, I got quiet. I used what I've learned, how I work with clients, to unhook from the pattern of being, and lay down a new trail for myself. And in sharing I hope others can know this type of healing and transformative work is possible.
Instead of resisting these parts of us that arise, what would it be like to lean into them, to get to know them? To get right alongside them and let them have a voice? I knew, from a rational perspective that going on the hike would be fine. My body could handle it. If I brought snacks everyone else would be taken care of. But that's the thing with trauma and our inner workings. We can "know" one thing in our mind, but our body can have a completely different experience. And it's this experience that dictates how we respond or react to the situation. I'd venture to say for most of us, when a part of us feels we shouldn't be feeling the way we do because of x,y or z, we shove what we actual feel deeeeep down, where it couldn't be heard. But even if we don't hear it anymore, chances are it's still being felt.
So I sat with the part of me that was anxious. And the other part was saying, "Just get over it already". And the rational part that was trying to convince me of why I shouldn't worry. I witnessed each part, truly giving them my attention and respect, even the judgy part of me that was like, "I can't believe you need to do all this work just to go on a kids hike". In listening to each part, giving it a chance to explain it's role and it's fears, little bits of me untangled on the inside. There was more space to breathe and be. Just this small act of being a loving witness changed the way I held my physical body, moved the energy that was sitting in my chest and throat, and revealed what it was these parts needed.
There's this belief in our culture that we have to be tough, strong, persevere, dominate, don't complain. And yes, mindset is important. Intention is powerful. But in agreeing to these collective ideas, which we may do whether we realize or not, we devalue and invalidate our experiences of anything other than that. The saying goes, what we resist, persists. What would it feel like to actually just sit with your thought stream, the various aspects of yourself? To separate just a bit from them and witness them with curiosity, compassion, care? Can we shift our idea from believing that parts of us are bad, unwanted or needing improvement and see them as parts who were doing their best to take care of us. Parts to be seen, heard and loved?
So for the week leading up to the hike I tended to myself. I checked back in with these parts, listening to their concerns. For maybe 15 minutes each day I did gentle movement, stretching and self massage to care for my physical body. Before getting out of bed each morning I practiced a few minutes of embodiment work from The Realization Process, taking time to inhabit the internal space of my knees, legs, and back. And as we drove to the hike that day, I checked in again and sat with that worried part of me as if holding hands, reassuring it that I was right there.
It wasn't until the hike was over, while we were walking back to our cars, that the realization dawned on me. I hadn't felt any pain, hadn't been taken over by this part with feelings of anxiety or worry. I had actually thoroughly enjoyed the hike, the company and conversation, the crunch of the leaves and brisk fall air. I had stayed present in the experience without even realizing or trying. And since then, anytime this part of me comes up, we know each other and trust in our deepening relationship. No more shoving it down into the depths. We meet the world and all it brings together.
What we feel physically is intertwined with our emotions, our energy, our traumas. And how we heal can be through these same pathways. May you be blessed with knowing you are loved and whole, and the courage to dive in and know all of you.