Over the summer I had an experience that allowed me to start releasing patterns of guilt and shame as well as some of the angst, aimlessness and dissatisfaction I had been feeling. I went to see a transformational bodyworker, Mark Haviland (beyondbodywork.com), on the recommendation of a dear friend. I am always looking for experiences that might help me get to the root of what ails me, and I am open to trying almost anything. Mark’s work is called Soulmatic Therapy, a play on somatic (body-centered) therapy. He helps people release negative emotional and psychological patterns stored in the body so that they can more fully inhabit their lives. I was hoping it would be a transformative experience, and it was, like nothing I’ve ever done before. After talking with me for a short time he identified what he saw as my core wound and then proceeded to help me begin to release it through deep breathing and incredibly intense deep tissue bodywork. As he pressed into areas of my body that hold onto particular emotions his only instruction was to “let it drop”. At first I had no idea what he meant, but soon I was sobbing and spent the next hour letting out an unbelievable amount of tears. At the end of the session I walked out in awe. It felt as though my brain had just exploded and I could tell that I was experiencing my second “bathroom floor moment” (Awake). And as happened in January of 2018, over the next several weeks I shed many more tears and processed emotions that I had mistakenly believed I had already worked through.
Since that experience I have become less critical of myself and have started to feel true self-compassion again. When feelings of guilt or shame bubble up I am able to release them. When I feel like I “should” be doing something I ask myself if that is actually true or just a conditioned response that is no longer necessary. I am better able to make decisions that are aligned with my values and support my well-being without second-guessing myself. I find myself stating what I need clearly and with kindness. I am releasing feelings of victimhood and helplessness, taking responsibility for my actions and for how I respond to my circumstances, and choosing as much as possible to move towards the positive rather than moving away from the negative. When I notice myself feeling unmoored or anxious I consciously redirect my energy toward doing something helpful (it could be simply washing dishes that were left in the sink), and it almost always centers me. As much as possible I am trying to focus on gratitude for the level of health I have attained, even if it isn’t quite where I had hoped to be at this point. Instead of grasping for more I remind myself that I am no longer in bed, I have a job I enjoy, I can take care of my family, I sing, and I write.
I am reclaiming my power and my agency; in other words, myself.