Bareback Horse Riding (Sep 1997)

A new photo of my brother and I on our horse, that we did not get to ride very often. I remember being bucked off when he stepped into a nest of hornets but it was fun to ride rather than walk the hour to play with the 3 other girl friends that were part of our community at Rosswood. You can see the image I talk about in the archive for 1991 July and August

Some things are just worth repeating and so is the photo of me on this month’s front cover. For those of you who weren’t reading my Musings six years ago, the photo is me standing on the work horse ringing the dinner bell. It was the fun part of working hard helping my Mom prepare dinner for a family of ten. Rereading that column reminded me of how long I have been struggling to understand my digestive system. Back then, I was focusing on different diets. Today, I am focusing more on the energetic flow that effects the chi through the organs. Yes, the food I eat is important, but it won’t get digested if the chi is blocked and not flowing. In Chinese medicine, the stomach has to do with assimilation of ideas or food. It doesn’t differentiate on an energetic level. Understanding this and bringing to the surface my old patterns of confusion is giving me true energy. It took a while for me to figure out that I was burning up my nervous and reserve energies and that it is a slow process to replace them.

Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods, was in Penticton this summer and his recommendations for getting and staying well were to spend time meditating and exercising, after which dietary changes would happen without a lot of mind effort. His reasoning was that if you meditate, you will know what your body needs. Exercising gives vitality to the body to support the change. His book is well-researched and goes into great detail as to the importance of organic food, food combining, and the assimilation of vitamins and minerals. But more importantly, he joins the Eastern systems of emotional wellness and the Western belief system of diet in a way that can be integrated into daily practice if one wishes to improve one’s health.

This summer has offered me many opportunities for healing, including a change in my breathing pattern. After two more Integrative Body Psychology sessions with Ken Martin and lots of deep tissue manipulation with Jason Perry, I am getting closer to the core of understanding why I am the way I am.

Each time I go though another level of old pain, my physical body feels different. Sometimes it feels drained as my emotional body shifts its energy pattern, and sometimes I feel energized. A week after my third session with Ken I woke up Saturday morning and sensed a small pop in my back and knew it wasn’t a physical pop. I assumed it was my emotional body letting go of what Ken and I had been processing. I could feel a need in my body for more air so I started breathing deeper and faster. Then I started yawning, almost gasping for air. I couldn’t seem to release my jaws wide enough to get in the amount of air I wanted. It seemed like my lungs had expanded and I needed to breathe in more at one time than I was used to. After a few breaths my lungs would feel full and satisfied, then the feelings would start over again. This breathing pattern switched back and forth most of the day as I went to garage sales, ate lunch and typed. Having to concentrate on my breathing helped me to stay present in my body. Now, a month later, I am still breathing deeply as I listen to my body with its demands for more air. I am delighted to be breathing deeper without any mind effort but it does feel strange to be reminded to breath deeply, constantly.

With all this breathing going on, I decided to meditate, so I quieted my mind. I could feel a strange energy swirling through my sensitive stomach, but what did it mean? I have read that the stomach is the seat of the emotions as well as a machine for sorting out food and ideas, so I tuned into my highly-charged stomach. No specific answers came, so I concluded it was the energy blocks that Ken and I had touched on during our session that were being released. The issue was boundaries. The first session was more about my mother and the second one with my Dad. In my regressed state, I could feel how they took over and fused their beliefs systems into me. This created confusion and frustration as one aspect of me split off, gave up and laid down. It didn’t have any more energy to fight back.

Both my parents were very good at expressing their anger and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t. I bit everyone and having them bite me back only made me more angry as the confusion set in at not being able to express it. Recorded in my baby book are my first words…” Mama” and “I’m mad.” I can still remember hearing a voice in my head when I was four or five years old that said “Give up, Angèle; they have won.”

During my session with Ken I could actually see myself as a youngster lying in the dirt, broken-hearted. He asked me if I was ready to love and understand that part of myself that had given up. I watched my child-self stand up, dust her bum, and be welcomed back into the open arms of the now grown-up aspect of myself. Tears of joy released themselves as a prickly sensation spread through my body.

With my older, wiser self holding my little self’s hand, I was able to go through the stages of anger that were stored inside of me. I started out feeling like I was shouting at Dad, telling him to ‘f ‘ off with his anger. Then it shifted to me being annoyed with his stupid rules, and finally, I could see myself stroking my fingers over each other and saying to Dad, “Shame, shame, I won’t play your silly game.” At that point Ken asked me to give back to my father his anger and his rules. I cracked up laughing for this idea seemed absurd … almost inconceivable. No way did I have enough energy to do that; I had given it my best shot and got exhausted and besides, he always won. Ken asked me to see my wiser self joining together with the disowned part that had given up. Together, we had the strength to tell Dad that I no longer needed to figure out his anger, and I no longer needed to disperse his energy through my body. I had emotions of my own that needed expressing. Reclaiming back another disowned part of myself allows me to have more compassion for both of my parents. I can love them even more, now that I am not fused with them emotionally.

Releasing the emotional fusion with both my parents, my mother last month and my father this month, has also given my body the extra energy I need so that I can consciously breathe deeper and take in more oxygen for I know that the breath represents vitality, replenishing the oxygen into my lungs and energizing my blood, so I am delighted to be doing what my body is asking of me. Releasing suppressed feelings is releasing my suppressed breathing pattern. Intellectually, I had already worked through much of this, and now it is time to let go of them from my emotional body.

The gift of this early pain and hurt was that I became very good at reading people. I learned at a very young age to read my father’s eyes or listen to the tone in my mother’s voice so that I could run, if I needed to; I didn’t like getting spanked. Today, I use that skill to figure out people by reading their energy body. Understanding their strengths and their weaknesses fairly quickly helps me to do what I do best— work with collectives of people. It also gives me the compassion to love the goodness that shines through their faults.