Catch of the Day (Feb 1995)

Seems an appropriate picture for the front cover as I just got laid off from my ‘real’ job as a Zamboni driver at the Summerland ice arena. Now I can focus on getting the Spring Festival of Awareness program together. I wondered how I was going to do it. I trust the universe will give me the time and people seem to appear when I need help. I do enjoy the precise timing of the universe when I am in the flow. This photo of me was taken after a trip to the fishing hole, during our first year at Rosswood, BC, the summer of 1959. Fish were plentiful, seldom did anyone ever come home skunked.

My ‘Musings’ this month is an attempt at putting into words some of my understanding of why I am the way I am. As many of you know, I have spent many years reading, listening to and practising a wide variety of health alternatives in an attempt to understand my body. With no manual to follow, it has taken much patience for me to figure out what my body is trying to tell me. Digesting food is a major challenge and has been ever since I can remember.

As a teenager I complained to the doctor of smelly farts. I was given a gall bladder test which showed normal. When I asked a girlfriend, “Doesn’t it hurt you to wear your belt cinched in so tight.” She looked at me with a quizzed look and said “No.” Wearing panty hose made me feel like I was cut in half. After a large meal, I needed to rest so that the iron nails in my stomach wouldn’t hurt so much. I even asked the doctor about the intense pain under my ears and was told that I had sharper than normal bones and there was nothing that could be done. I decided it was up to me to figure out what was not working.

I started experimenting with different diets, including fasting, food combining, vegetarianism, herbs, vitamins, enzymes, ayurvedic cooking, I even tried talking to my stomach. Each time I tried something new my condition improved for a while and then I was back to square one sometimes with even more sensitivity.

About seven or eight years ago I started going to bodyworkers, for I discovered that a good massage would get the gas moving and help release the spasms in my neck and shoulders. We talked about my poor posture and I started an exercise program to stretch the muscles across my chest. I was told I had a short waist and my rounding shoulders didn’t give my stomach and intestinal track much room to function.

About five years ago, I had the same thoughts recur during several bodywork sessions and images that felt very real to me. In them, I am less than two years old, watching my father sleeping on the couch, I think to myself: ‘If I just bite off his knee, he’ll never kick my dog again.” My mouth starts to water as I sink my teeth deep into his kneecap. Suddenly I am back to reality, with a searing pain in my shoulder. The healer says: “Start talking about what you are feeling so you can help the energy release.” I feel like swearing but don’t. Wish I had, for I am starting to understand how we hold onto to hurt and pain, storing them in our auric field and fascia (the connective tissue between the skin and muscles).

I asked my Mom about the incident and she said she remembered a time when she heard me screaming and rushed into the next room to find me on the floor. She thought Dad had thrown me against the wall, and when she screamed at him for doing so, she was told it was his knee jerk reflex that had sent me flying.

I am starting to make the connection between this incident and other frustrations that I had as a child: I think they are directly related to my sensitive stomach. My favorite saying in my baby book at age two was “I’m mad.” At about the same time, I bit everything that was close to the floor. I have flashbacks of keeping watch from floor level for hands that dangled over the edge of the chair so I could bite them. I remember at age four being taken to a speech therapist. As I looked into her mouth while she was showing me how to curl my tongue, this voice in my head said, “Give up, Angèle, they have won.” After that, I pronounced all my consonants and never went back. At age five they took out my tonsils for I got frequent infections. At age seven, we left the United States and I was happy, probably because my Mom was happy. I think my words “I’m mad,” was me reverberating my Mom’s words and thoughts. Going back to my infancy, I believe I bit because our dogs would not. Instinctively I knew they should not be kicked and by shutting down the flow of energy to my stomach, I didn’t have to feel as much. Instinctively as well, I realized that the fastest and easiest way to do that was to rearrange my skull bones and compress the nerves that control the flow of information and energy to the stomach. I believe that when Dad sent me flying over his head and I hit the wall that this created an imbalance in my body that never got corrected. This was repeated twice more; at age ten I remember flying over my bicycle handlebars as I coasted downhill on a gravel road and at age fifteen, the horse I was riding stumbled and I was thrown over his head. Both times that I can remember I had dizziness and a headache for several days and then I adjusted.

I believe that we create our destiny and that as a child I was closely connected to that intuitive, creative flow that gives us the ability to set in place the conditions that guide us so that we may learn our soul’s purpose for incarnating. Learning nutrition, body awareness and meditation to still the mind has helped me go inside myself for answers. I am thankful to my stomach for being so sensitive for I have always known she was my teacher. I am delighted not to be a fast food junkie and I think the world would be a better place if people had to make more conscious decisions about what they put into their bodies. Many people are swayed by advertising and convenience to switch to processed foods … they don’t take the time to think about the long-term consequences because their stomachs do not react instantly as does mine.

The quality of food I eat is important but I have discovered that my emotions play an even greater role in my wellness. Each organ is supplied with vital ‘chi’ energy through our meridians and chakras as well as the nerves and blood vessels. Each time I let go of old anger that I didn’t even realize I was holding onto, my emotional body is cleared of garbage: I feel lighter and I have more physical energy. Experiencing this feeling of energy and being able to detect it at subtle levels is part of my life’s lesson. After many years of trial and error and learning much about nutrition, I have come to the conclusion that illness is a separation of body from soul. As I reconnect with feelings in my stomach through CranioSacral therapy, a variety of workshops, singing, dreamwork, Yoga and recently Rolfing, my posture seems to be improving and my food is better assimilated.

In closing I would like to tell a story about a Jin Shin Do session I had. I was drifting away but present enough to know my therapist was doing one of the last sequences, where she connects the energy circuits of my head to my toes. As she did, I felt this incredible surge of energy shake my body, starting at the head. I arched my upper back, screaming into a black hole, as the energy shivered through my body like a wave, exiting through my feet. The sequence was repeated twice with the same intensity and the third time the wave went through, I started to realize I was on the table and I was wondering how loud I had screamed. I waited for the therapist to complete her last set of pressure points and then I opened my eyes and asked her if she felt the surge of energy when I had arched. She said ‘no.’ I asked about the scream, and she said “You haven’t moved in the last while.” When I got off the table, I felt lighter. I weighed myself in my mind and knew I had lost twelve pounds of etheric weight. I don’t know what it was that I let go of, but it was very real for me.

This is one small part of my story of why I am who I am. I feel this will change as I learn more and come to realize just how little I really do know. I do believe it is one of the main reasons why I am so determined to promote holistic health and make known the variety of alternative practitioners who have ‘real’ solutions to our illnesses. There are some medical doctors that are starting to realize the connection between body, mind and soul, but so many people want the magic bullet, ‘now’ they don’t want to understand pain, they don’t want to know why they are sick, they don’t want to have to slow down or take time to go inside. It is much too confusing and time-consuming to question, “Why me?” For many, getting healthy would entail a radical shift in the way they enjoy life and change seems frightening.

I don’t believe I had many choices: my family was sceptical of doctors ‘not doing much good,’ I felt responsible for taking care of myself and my family, and I had to pursue my intuitive knowingness of what I needed, educating myself seemed the only sane way to survive.

If you would like to get educated, experience energy or try some creative solutions to pain, check out the variety of bodyworkers and workshops available in ISSUES, check out the Speaker Series in Penticton or come to the
Spring Festival of Awareness, at Naramata Centre, April 21 to 23rd.