As I promised last month, here is Dad’s replica of an Alaskan Igloo. This month’s front cover photo shows us children playing in our new house. I loved the part where we got to crawl through the doorway and then inside, look through the ice towards the sun. I remember him explaining the technique to friends and his brothers. I listened for as long as I could and then I would go and play, checking in every so often to see how they were doing.
Building the igloo reminds me that technique was just as important as having the right environmental conditions. Their structure was much simpler than our modern houses but the function was the same; to give protection against the elements. North American’s have evolved to the point that technology is at our fingertips but in doing so we have lost touch with the elements and what it means to be human. We have lost touch with the seasons and being grateful when the sun shines.
A favourite book of mine that I had a chance to reread over the holidays, is The Body Revealed by Ron Kurtz and Hector Prestera, M.O. This book gives clear guidance for opening up the body so that we can feel love, for as I said in my last Musing, the body never lies - its tone, colour, posture, proportions, movements, tension and vitality express the person within. Fixed muscular patterns are central to a person’s way of being in the world. They form in response to family and early environment and our definitions of love.
There are four basic body types: Needy, Burdened, Rigid, and Top and Bottom Heavy. Each type has its underlying fears and emotions with characteristic behaviour patterns because of life experiences. The needy types are always looking for support, life is hard to cope with and they have strong feelings of abandonment. Slumped shoulders reflect the burdens carried, along with resentment at being made too responsible at too young an age. A rigid, tense body reflects muscles that grasp for things, a struggle to get what one wants. The jaw will harden or jut forward as the body becomes muscular and energetic. The top and bottom heavy types ignore the needs and feelings of themselves and others and go into their heads for protection, layering tissue over their unmet needs.
When the innate wholeness of the body is disrupted, we ban the impulses that arise in our bellies, genitals, hearts, arms, legs and other parts of our body. We block by creating tension, using our muscles to dam the flow of feelings. In doing so we diminish our feelings and our internal guidance systems of knowing who we are.
These childhood blocks allow us to survive and give us our personality but over time they rob us of the energy to be our wonderful selves. With time the programming fades and the feeling slips from our consciousness. We then search for indirect routes to satisfaction as we progress toward adulthood with a patchwork quilt of roles and games.
In a healthy open person, feelings flow easily into expression. A strong feeling of sadness spontaneously becomes a trembling jaw, tears and sobbing. If that feeling can’t be expressed, it is held by the jaw as the breathing becomes shallow, and the belly finds a place to stuff the pain. In rigid types the emotions are often held in the lungs.
Understanding my family history and getting a sense of my programming is important to me so that I can understand my definition of love as it was imprinted on me genetically. My Dad was like many others, a product of his pain and fear. He was good to us most of the time. He didn’t drink or smoke and he liked to work hard, but at times he was downright mean. Deep down I knew he loved me, but he seldom showed it with words or actions. When he hurt me, I avoided him till I felt it was safe to relax my guard. Most of the time he just ignore me. Today some of those feelings are coming back up as I open up my emotional body during my breathwork and allow them to be released.
My emotional release sessions with Ken Martin always involve lots of yawning and crying and sometimes screaming. We always start with a check-in to see how my body is feeling. I quiet my mind and watch the flow of my breath, breathing a little faster than normal. Then I notice where the energy gets stuck. This time it was deep inside my belly. As I went deeper into the feeling, it felt like a hot poker. Ken asked me to be with it, just allow it to be. Sadness consumed me, then anger and tears Ken then asked that I see my inner child feeling hurt and angry. Then to imagine my higher self and the more grown-up parts of me supporting her in feeling her feelings. I would prefer to figure them out. I think that if I can just figure them out they will hurt less.
Ken asks me to get out of my head and just allow the feelings. More crying and feelings of frustration. I feel angry words and growl to express them. Then I get quiet as I continue to offer my inner child support and love for holding these angry feeling all these year’s. I imagine her feelings in a basket, which she tips over and pours out onto the ground. During all this time I could feel electrical impulses darting back and forth between my neck and the area around my uterus. Hot flashes moved down my legs and I felt like a jelly fish letting go of its tendrils as old tightness fizzled and popped. The next day I attended my Yoga class in Kelowna. I felt like I had a new body. We started with Sun Salutations and I felt strong and balanced. Then we did some forward seated stretches and I could stretch an extra two inches towards my knees, without any extra effort. It has taken me years of bodywork, counselling, breath work and yoga to allow my body to change and I am living proof it is possible. The bonus for doing this work is that I get the energy needed to do the many tasks asked of me. I write this column because I would like to encourage others on their healing journey.
I believe like Ron Kurtz and many others that say- if we let go of chronic tensions we can change how our body looks and feels. I give thanks to Ida Rolf, Mr. Iyengar and the thousands of others who are giving us tools to change our patterning, dissolve old limiting beliefs systems and awaken us to our true potential and the greatness that we are.