Amy came to see me not really knowing what to expect. Over the last year she had been in and out of hospital, back and forward between doctors for what she described as excruciating chest pain, back spasms, shortness of breath and sleepless nights. She was feeling low on energy and increasingly disconnected from her body and people around her. She didn't know what was happening to her and it was frightening. Her family were worried.
As Amy told me her story I noticed how eloquently she described the chain of events that had led her to come and see me. She talked openly and honestly, reflecting on her emotions with a level of maturity I don't often see. But I noticed her breathing was shallow. When she told me about having to leave a lunch party because she felt so unwell with chest pain, I started to wonder if these were severe panic attacks.
The doctors she said, were unable to tell her what was wrong. They all said different things and it was confusing. Eventually her family insisted on a scan. They were surprised and also terrified that it had revealed two small blood clots near her lungs. She was swiftly prescribed warfarin to thin her blood and put on steroids. Her doctor told she would need to take this medication every day now, for the rest of her life.
She was 24 years old.
'At first I was like no way!' she said 'I'm not taking pills for the rest of my life. Then I thought well, it's just a pill, it takes one second to take..what's the big deal?'
As her voice trailed off I could hear the tug of war happening between her head and her heart. Her intuition seemed to be telling her that something wasn't right if she was having to take medication every day but still, was no closer to understanding what was wrong. And the other part, was driven by the fact the experts and her elders were giving her this advice, so surely, it was the right thing to do?
As I tuned into her system I was instantly struck by a feeling of weightlessness. It was significant and it didn't shift. Her body began to show me showed the bubble it was in. There was no grounding or weight hence her disconnection from those around her. It was like she was floating. I asked her body why it was in a bubble and it showed me her heart. It was tugging her left shoulder over and over. A fierce tug of war. The strain was powerful, almost overpowering. It was no wonder she couldn't sleep. Her womb then came into focus and showed me the way it was moving, like a giant wheel going round and round, treading water as if it was trying to keep itself afloat. It was draining her. Her body was struggling to relax on the table and her spine was elevated as her back muscles remained in contraction. Her breathing was shallow and uneven.
Suddenly an image appeared. I could Amy looking terrified with her back pressed up against a huge brick wall.
'You're backed up against a huge wall right now' I said
'That's exactly how I feel!' she exclaimed. She told me it felt terrifying. She could feel her heart and it was in panic.
'Who is backing you up against this wall?' I asked
'I am' she replied
There was a realness here. An honesty. A knowing.
'That wall keeps you safe huh?'
'From what?' I asked
'From people' she replied
Over the years through various life experiences Amy came to expect that people wouldn't really understand her. On an emotional level, they definitely wouldn't meet her where she needed. When she tried to explain that she was stressed out her family told her it was all in her head. There was pressure to perform and to just get on with life. Every time she was hurt, her sensitive heart would add a brick to the wall to keep her safe from disappointment. The problem was, the wall was so high now that it was keeping her away from the world. She wasn't interacting with the world, she was like a ghost. The wall muffled the sound of her own voice, which meant it was hard for her to express how she felt. This created more misunderstanding between her and her family as she struggled to articulate her needs and then felt let down by them for not getting her. Every disappointment or confrontational conversation would lead to another layer of bricks being built. It was exhausting work.
Physically her heart was in panic, the pericardium and back muscles were tight and the tightness was reflected in her thoracic diaphragm which was tending towards contraction.
Her heart was simply not being given the space to express, to do what it needed to do which on a physical level was to keep the blood flowing and keep her in flow and on an emotional level was to allow her to feel. No wonder her blood was clotting, nothing was flowing for her right now. The tug of war was keeping her stuck and exhausting her. As a result she had no energy to move much and was starting to stagnate.
'I don't know how to live without the wall' she said, sounding scared.
Suddenly another image appeared where she was carrying the entire wall on her back. Step by step dragging her feet and getting nowhere. The weight of it was crushing her back. I couldn't believe it. She needed the wall so much she was willing to even carry it with her as she tried to move forward in life. But it was impossible. I started to realise the wall wasn't going to come down. It was the only safe-ish place she could be. It was survival. I invited her to see what else was around her and the wall, to try to create more space in her energy body and to see if this translated to her physicality.
'What else is around this wall, if we step back a bit, what else do you see apart from you and your giant wall?'
'I can see a garden on my right.' she replied
Phew. I was actually relieved. She had found somewhere else! Hmm..but now I was also a bit scared. I wondered what was happening with me, what was the transference here? The words came 'Was it safe? Is the garden safe?' I started to feel the intense weight and pressure of her family's concern and worry. It was strong and imposing. They loved her and they were trying to protect her but it was suffocating. The more she struggled with her health the more they worried and the more pressurised she felt. Perhaps as a way to get met emotionally, the pain and the not knowing brought her into the centre of her family constellation where she thought she might be met with the level of empathy she needed, but she was drowning in all the attention and still not getting her needs met.
'Shall we head for the garden?' I asked
I felt a different energy come through the field. Her body had softened, her back muscles had relaxed. There was more space in her breath. I felt the family worry lift.
'It's my grandma's garden. There's light. There's a fishpond. It's peaceful'
As if by magic we were transported. I was surprised by how our images were so in sync. I had also seen the fish pond. Together we spotted the little apple tree. We both smiled. I noticed that she had brought me with her to the garden. And whilst she had a sense of freedom there, she was lonely and she didn't feel complete without her family there with her. It could feel the conflict, between wanting to be there on her own and wanting to be part of her family.
She began to cry. As she did her heart released itself from the tug of war and a bright light began to spread throughout her body and the muscles relaxed and her chest opened. Her spine became weighty and sunk into the table.
'I know I just need to be ok on my own' she said. Her voice was fragile.
'Is that really what you need?' I asked 'Or do you need to find a new way to be around your family. A way that allows you to speak your truth and be understood by them?'
She understood that by hiding behind her wall she was not communicating her truth. We reconnected her head-throat-heart centres which over time had forgotten that they need to work together. Very quickly her heart settled and her womb began to speak.
'Can you hear that?' I asked her.
'Yes' she smiled. '
'What's your womb saying?' I asked
'It's telling me to be kind to myself' she replied
I smiled. That was exactly what I heard too. It was a simple message. It felt like the message from a grandmother. An elder.
'So you do have a body connection huh!'
Amy smiled. We reconnected her womb to the earth, anchoring her feminine centre and her entire body so that she was no longer in a bubble but solid and earthed.
'My blood feels thinner. Like it's moving. My heart feels lighter and I feel like a new person- with a new body.'
The next day Amy said she felt a new motivation to nurture her body with good food and exercise. That night she lay down and explained to her body that they were going to be friends now. She noticed how it contracted and relaxed over and over. Eventually, she fell asleep.
The theme of the session was indeed, this tug of war, between heart and head, between body and mind, between connection and mistrust, between herself and her family. Between independence and belonging. Afterall, she was 24 and she was now growing up. This was part of her process of coming into young womanhood. Tension between opposites is an important expression of life. Contrast is the precursor of perception and judgement. In this way, her soul path was emerging before her. As the youngest in her family she was perhaps also, the most self aware. It's sometimes a painful position to be in. In finding her own inner wall, she would be able to show her family how their own walls within and between, were affecting the peace they could feel together.
Body connection and speaking our heart's truth often comes from being disembodied and disconnected, from being muffled and suffocated. From being confused and in pain. The journey ends when the awareness begins. In freeing herself to speak her truth Amy allowed herself to be met by people around her. In the place where it matters the most, her heart.
Amy wrote to me after the session:
I honestly had no idea what I was about to experience. For me, I decided to go in with an open mind. Heading to see you, my mind was full, scared, anxious as I really didn’t know what to expect. After chatting and expressing myself, I felt safe, I felt comfortable and I started to feel like I didn’t need to bottle up anything.
During the session I first told myself to clear my mind and truly focus on this and not let my mind dwell.. the way you spoke to me, calmly, I felt safe even though I felt like my body was still unsure (especially that I have become very protective over myself). After some time and letting myself actually connect with my body, a swarm of emotions came across me.. a sense of relief, relaxation and a weight off my chest. I didn’t even realize how much pain I had in me, both physically and emotionally.
Once we were done, I felt so light so energetic and so alive. I felt rebooted. My mind was clear, I knew what I wanted and needed to do moving forward..
However, after that high disappeared, my body was exhausted. A type of exhaustion I have never felt before. I put myself to bed and woke up feeling brand new. I still have a bit of anxiety, but it’s a process that I now know what I need to do.
I cannot express how thankful I am for putting in my all, for being honest even when it scared me to speak up. You made it so comfortable for me to let go and reconnect my body. Thank you for giving me this incredible opportunity to rediscover myself and lead me back on the path I thought I lost.
If you're interested to try craniosacral therapy and any walls you've built that are getting in the way of your connection and health, get in touch on my website kimiyahealing.co.uk or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All client names and identifiable details have been changed to honour the sacred confidentiality of the work.