Client Case: Like mother like daughter, Sarah's story
Sarah bounced into the room with a huge smile. She told me it had been quite a long journey to get to me. We lived at opposite ends. I invited her to take her time to arrive in the room, and make herself comfortable here.
Sarah had never heard of craniosacral therapy but was recommended to try it from a friend that had previously had a session with me. When I asked about her health she told me she sometimes felt anxious as work could be quite stressful.
'What about your physical health?' I asked. I was aware that I was asking and I wondered about that.
'Well I had an operation three months ago for mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands) and now its back. I don't want to have another operation.'
I started to get a picture of how it might be quite difficult for Sarah to talk about the experience of her physical body. She told me she was left with a hole in her right breast and as she spoke I could feel the loss and shock which hadn't yet really sunk in. I wondered how she had got here, seeing as the only thing she had mentioned in her life was stress at work. She seemed smiley and joyful. So I started to ask a few more questions about how her life was in the years before she found a lump, how she feels emotionally, what kind of relationships she has or if she's been ill before.
'There's nothing. I've never had any trauma. I'm in a happy relationship with my partner. I've been feeling fine until now. I can't point to anything that has happened in my life that could be causing this. The doctor told me it was very unusual as I've never been pregnant and usually this happens with women who are pregnant. I don't know why this has happened'
I was genuinely surprised. Actually I was more than surprised. I was bewildered.
'I'm hearing that there's a big question mark above all this for you' I said
'Yes' she replied 'I have no idea why this has happened or how to heal. I went to Brazil and drank ayahuasca. It was amazing, and i'm going again to try to heal'
I admired her courage. I could feel her sheer determination. It was strong. This was one strong lady!
'Well I don't know why this has happened either. Maybe together we can ask your body and see if it chooses to give you some answers today?' I said
She looked excited and keen to get started. I invited her to lie down on the treatment table.
As she lay down I sensed a feeling of being ready but not being able to relax. Her system was open energetically but her emotional body wasn't engaged. I looked at her facial expression and noticed she was smiling. And yet inside, a storm thundered.
'How are you feeling? I asked
'Warm and relaxed' she replied
My bewilderment level was rising. Her system was anything but warm and relaxed and yet she was feeling warm and relaxed. How was this possible?
Her left leg was contracting and heavy, almost abandoned, and there was a diagonal tugging from her liver to her left hip. The heart centre was invisible, almost like it didn't want to let me see it. The sacrum hid its reverberations under layers of tugging, creeping through now and again only to disappear into the folds of sensation. I could feel we were at the tip of an iceberg.
'What are you noticing in your body right now?'
' I don't feel much happening'
So here we were. Sarah wasn't feeling anything and yet her body was speaking. I was feeling her body but her body wanted to talk to her. We continued like this for a while. I wondered myself, what to do? It felt like this might be it. And then I decided to ask the question inside my heart, 'if she's not feeling her own body, what exactly is she doing?'
I saw her lying down with her eyes closed.
But it was a different type of seeing. Of course, she was lying down with her eyes closed. But inside, she was lying down with her eyes closed. My immediate thought was, how is this relevant. Why am I seeing this? Over and Over again, I saw the same image. Sarah was lying down, with her eyes closed.
Oh. I thought. So this is it. This is all there is to it. But how do I say it? Do I say it? How do I work with it? What if i'm wrong?
I sat with my process and my questions. I moved up towards Sarah and placed one hand on her liver and another under her sacrum. I embraced her with a field of love, acceptance and safety.
'So you don't feel anything happening in your body?' I asked
'No, I just feel warm and relaxed' she replies
'Maybe I can tell you what i'm sensing and you can either chuck it in the bin if it doesn't ring true for you, or explore it if you feel comfortable to do so. I'm just going to share a little'
'OK' she replied
I took a breath. I was trying to find the exact words to be as sensitive as I could but the words just came tumbling through. Almost as if something else was speaking
'There's plenty happening in your body right now, but you can't feel it. You can't feel it because you don't want to feel it, because you're asleep. Your eyes are closed so you don't have to look at what you're doing to your own body. Your liver is overflowing with rage and your body is flooded with toxicity and it's tried so hard to hold it in, but now its flooding into your right breast. And this is where we are. You have this question of why me, but you don't really want to see the answer because you've closed your eyes. And yes you're strong because you can hold all of this in and not look at it. But that's not real strength. That's not really you standing in your power'
Oh dear I thought. I've just dropped a truth bomb. Whenever this happens with clients I always take a breath and wonder if they will freak out or if i'm totally wrong. But the body never lies, so as long as I speak my truth, honesty prevails.
'It's difficult for me to see' she said 'So yes I guess I keep my eyes closed'
'What's difficult to see?' I asked
'Certain things about myself, my emotions. Anger'
'Who are you angry with' I asked
'My mother. I don't have a good relationship with her'
Sarah then began to share her story. She started to describe how she had spent her whole life doing everything for herself. Even as a young child she was self sufficient. She didn't receive the love she felt she needed from her mother. Her mother was 'toxic' and an 'egocentric' personality. She didn't know how to look after her own daughter. Her father died when she was young and she had learned to be strong and look after herself, physically and emotionally. But deep down inside she was raging and hurt.
'Why didn't your mother give you love?' I asked
'Because she didn't see me. She was a toxic person.'
'Oh' I said. 'So your mother had her eyes closed and didn't see you?' I said
'Exactly, her eyes were closed'
'So your mother didn't see you because her eyes were closed and she was toxic. And here you are, with your eyes closed, unable to see yourself, with a toxic system and an overflowing liver. Like mother like daughter then, isn't it?'
I was a little surprised when Sarah smirked. 'Yep.' It felt like the dots were starting to connect. Sarah was starting to see how she was responding to life the same way her mother did. She was repeating a cycle. Crucially, she started to see that she was actually avoiding her entire physical body which held all her childhood emotions.
'I believe children choose their parents' she said
'Why did you choose your mum?' I asked
'I don't know. To give her love I guess'
'Or it was to receive a gift from her. Maybe you knew she was the only woman that could do that for you. Her greatest gift to you was to force you to wake up and come back to your life. To understand that there is a life worth coming back to.'
'I've forgiven her'
'Yes, you may have, but have you forgiven yourself?' I asked
'I can feel my liver, it's full. It's angry. I can feel energy moving from my liver into my right breast. They are connected.'
In this way, Sarah was able to directly experience the connection between her unresolved and unexpressed rage and the direct impact it was having on her right breast. The big question mark about why this was happening to her was starting to be answered.
'Today you have been willing to see a little. You've been all the way to Brazil to the Amazon Jungle to get an answer for why this is happening to your body and your answer is inside here with you, all along. This is real strength. Your mother has given you the gift of finally, needing to step into your power. Now you have your answer, to heal is your choice. So choose to come back to life. ' I said. 'So now, don't go back to sleep'
Here we are with a real life example of what happens when we are not in contact with ourselves. Due to Sarah's early childhood experiences she was unable to feel what was happening in her own body, and yet she was a beautiful, successful and happy young lady in a loving relationship. Her sudden and terrifying experience of finding a lump in her breast was actually not sudden at all, it had been building up over her entire life. No doubt her body had tried to speak to her, as it was trying to throughout the session, but she was not able to hear.
The point of awareness that she was choosing to live her life from however, was not what her soul had chosen. Her soul had far bigger plans for her. In this way, it spoke to remind her of her inherent strength. This is the strength that comes from the empowerment of understanding the choices she has rather than the strength of sheer determination to push through life at the detriment the body. Strength comes from deep inside, and if we never go inside, we never truly stand in our power.
It had been a long journey for Sarah. Not just to get to me from across London but a journey of over 30 years of doing it all on her own. Sometimes client's give you a clue from the moment they walk in the door, of what they journey has been like. And if we're really deeply listening, we can hear the soul speak.
“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep! You must ask for what you really want. Don't go back to sleep! - RUMI