Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chapter 1, Part 3

Each time I identified the emotion associated with the place in my body, the energy fist would move, upward. Once I'd identified dread, the fist moved from the pit of my stomach and seemed to lodge behind my sternum. It felt the way a lump in the throat feels, when you try to choke back strong emotion, only this lump was behind my breastbone.

As I observed and felt it, the lump dissolved. There was a quiet moment before all of a sudden grief swept over me. I became aware of deep, deep sorrow, and of course, everything I felt was being expressed. My entire being was wracked with fear, dread, sorrow, as waves of gut wrenching, teeth-chattering, jaw-locking grief, crashed through my body. Tears poured, mucus ran, as I sobbed uncontrollably.

Once again, as soon as I'd identified grief and sorrow, the fist of energy moved, from behind my sternum to my heart. My heart started to ache and although vague at first, became painful as I witnessed it.

I'm not sure how long we'd been out on that deck, maybe twenty minutes, when the course instructor appeared. She said "Oh! I see you've decided to take the accelerated route". Then she laughed, just a little chuckle. She stayed to observe for a couple minutes, then left to continue her rounds. Her words, her laugh, even the fact that she left, all served to reassure me, give this bizarre situation some degree of normalcy. This, whatever it was that was happening to me, had struck with an immediacy and intensity that shocked me. I didn't know what was going on. I did not understand what was happening to me.

My body, still wracked by violent spasms of convulsive trembling, sobbed unabated. I could barely breathe let alone speak. Still, although the greater part of me was in serious distress, there was a small witnessing presence, curious and fascinated, amazement and awareness heightened.

I felt the pain move from my heart to my throat, where it formed into a hard lump of choked emotion, but with an unfamiliar, painful intensity. Then it seemed to dissolve for a moment before I suddenly became acutely aware of shame. Shame so deep and disturbing that it frightened me more than anything I'd experienced so far.

I'd had all I could handle. It was too much. Something had been set in motion but I wanted it to stop. I did not want this energy thing moving any further. I did not want it to move up into my head. I did not want to feel or know any more. I wanted this experience to end. I wanted it to stop.

I opened my eyes and fell weeping into the arms of my friend. She broke rule number one and held and rocked me like a child. It took a while before I'd composed myself enough to beat a hasty retreat to my room. It was there I realized that the pain in my back was gone. That chronic stiffness, the discomfort which had initially drawn me in and insisted upon my attention, was gone, just like that.

My friend never did get her turn to Ride the Waves of Sensation. I cried steadily for the remainder of the weekend, and intermittently but with decreasing frequency for the next several weeks. I did regret a little, from time to time, having stopped the process. Had I missed the opportunity for a more complete understanding of what that catharsis was about? Did I need, or really want, to know? It appeared to have been the storage place for memory of something traumatic, but the pain was gone. It left without my knowing what it was that had been so terrifying, painful and shameful, and I was o k with that.

Trust in yoga and myself, deepened. I was convinced, still am, that my yoga practice had laid the groundwork and brought strength and healing to my spine. That place of stiffness and discomfort, in the middle of my back, to this day has not returned. Somehow my body had stored memory, in a specific sore spot in my body, and now it was gone. Yay yoga! End of story. That is what I thought at the time.