Apart from sky-diving, I am usually pretty open to trying new things.
(I have friends who adore sky-diving but I can’t understand it at a fundamental level – it’s scary enough to get on a plane in the first place, I am not jumping out of one.)
So, earlier this week, on a recommendation from a friend, I started some biodynamic craniosacral therapy sessions. Essentially, the recommendation was: “this guy holds your feet and it’s really intense but you feel amazing afterwards”.
How could I not try that?
If you want to know what this therapy is, have a look here:
My paraphrase would probably get a bit too tongue-twisted if I tried.
So I went there for the first time this week and told my usual story of anxiety (hello researcher), and digestion issues (hello anxiety, hello researcher). It’s not an uncommon story, certainly among my peers. I have written more food diaries than actual life-story diaries; take all sorts of supplements; have given up loads of different ‘trigger’ foods at different times to see if that made a difference.
For those of you who’ve done this food journey, you’ll know how boring it can get – trying to replace and reintroduce; wondering why you feel awful after a meal that only included ‘safe’ food; searching for ingredients you can barely pronounce, let alone spell.
I can bake a dairy- and gluten-free brownie with the best of them now, but it’s been a journey.
So, why not try the foot-holding guy?
And, I totally understand why I was given the explanation above. I can’t explain it much more than that – although, he does more than hold your feet. It’s just that I’m not concentrating on that; I focus on my breathing with a visualisation and lose myself in that.
After the first session, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. My throat had felt constricted – I’d been holding my breath for too long so was given the breathing visualisation to calm it down. I felt hot, like I had a temperature. Walking home was a slow progress – I felt fragile and entirely spent. I got home, had a shower, and was in bed by 7:15pm. I slept almost straight through until my alarm rang the next morning, and I felt better. Lighter.
He’d made another appointment for Friday. I was afraid this was because I was completely wonky (see: anxiety).
But last night….
Last night, was completely different. There was a drumming music on when I arrived and my heart raced to its beat. Usually a racing heart is an anxiety thing, but not this time. It didn’t feel the same way. My throat felt different but not constricted, and my whole body tingled just under my skin, like a current was racing through it. I felt like a friendlier, less scary Frankenstein monster. Life via electricity.
And I felt amazing afterwards; my body moved more easily. I felt – if not peaceful, at ease with things.
He told me to take care of my throat: my voice would begin to come back this week.
And I got home and sang while I made dinner – much to the sadness of my small cat who went and hid in the bathroom, paws over her ears. I talked with a friend – one of those fantastic conversations that swing around with ideas, and highlight just how much the universe really can have a big stick to get you to realise things.
I realised just how much anxiety can exist in holding your breath; how much you hold your breath when you’re anxious. And how much, at least for me, those two things are very much chicken-or-egg. I know when I became anxious; I can’t remember when I started holding my breath but, in beginning to unleash it now, I know I’ve been doing it for far too long.
And this now opens my eyes far wider to what can be, and what could be. What exists in my life that makes me swallow my breath, and what exists that brings out the music.
And it’s the music that makes everything brighter, even on a cloudy day, reminds me the sun always comes out. It’s not that this is a magic cure, or that I’m seeking one. Rather, it gives me a new way of seeing things, and a new peace in which to see them. And that is something quite precious.
Connected to this – the universe and her big stick and all – is Amanda Palmer’s new book ‘The Art of Asking’ which has been inspiring me this past week or so as well. That there is bravery not only in asking, but bravery in being OK with the answer as well. Even if the answer is not 42, even if the answer feels wonky, it’s always better to ask, rather than silence the question, rather than hold your breath.
So, I am asking things of people now. Not necessarily asking them for things, but asking how they feel, and what they want – and whether they want to write with me. And sometimes the answers have been disappointing. But, other times, the answers have just been interesting and wonderful and made me feel connected to the people I love and adore in my life.
Sometimes, the answer has been yes as well. Because yes always appears eventually, and always when the time is right.
So, right at this very moment, I am thinking of a pirate called Tadhg, and all the adventures he could have with a kitten on his shoulder and flowers in his hands….