When your inner world is like a Sumo wrestling match.
I was in a breath work session this morning as part of my teacher training with the Alchemy Of Breath – an amazing body of teachings I highly recommend and endorse. It’s over a year since I first experienced the healing power of the breath in this way, and still, it blows me away and takes me by surprise on each session. The times when I expect nothing, I often experience great breakthroughs, and paradoxically, the times I expect the breakthroughs, I may experience a much softer, lighter journey, and perhaps that in itself is the breakthrough…
In today’s session, breathing into my restlessness and a few body aches and pains, I began to observe something….that deep down in my body, emotion was surfacing, at first anger in my belly which quickly transformed into grief. What was this beyond the pure feeling? Without questioning in the moment, I just continued to breathe as a series of memory flashbacks presented themselves to me, like fleeting impressions of times long gone, nevertheless vivid and seemingly unconnected. I recalled a moment when I’d been locked out of my own home by a greedy landlord who refused to give me any of my belongings back. I recalled a moment when I experienced over a prolonged period, eczema like rashes over my eyelids, never knowing when it would come or why it was there. It left after many, many years as silently as it arrived, but here it was again, showing itself to me. I recalled a moment when my first ever boyfriend cheated on me with my best friend of the time, and in each of the memories surfacing, I began to notice a thread linking them all together – the moments when my skin became that little bit thicker. My tough-as-nails exterior covering a soft and vulnerable interior world.
I began to track these moments and that thread holding them complicit in some part of my psyche, and I discovered a great fear of loss which had manifested in a way I had never actually brought to full awareness before; that of always holding something back in my relating, born of this deep, root chakra primal fear that I would lose it anyway, so I’d better prepare for the worst and hold some back in reserve! This was a major breakthrough for me.
What I also learnt about myself is that many of these repressed feelings will try and surface, or will surface regardless of my desire to contain them, in other ways, in less clean and less conscious ways. I also realised with a great ‘a-ha!’ that my journey through sexual freedom and sexual expression has a large and significant place in this process. Through sex and in particular through tantra and kink, I have found myself able to explore shadow parts of myself and in doing so, reclaim my power, re-connect to that which was lost. In some ways I realised this is why I’ve often been afraid of surrendering to this as my life’s work – because of the very fact that I would have to face my shadows in those connections, and the ego does a great job of protecting me from that. I also realised that I no longer need protecting from that as this journey of discovery is now a ship at which I am firmly and most securely at the helm. I control the speed at which I go, the direction and timing of when to set sail, when to dock, when to risk choppy seas and when to rest on the shore for a while. The pain has become my medicine.
When we resist our personal shows, or demons, or call them what you will, in general they simply find other ways out. Controlling behaviour, manipulating behaviour, hiding, running away, denial, numbing out, and more. The range is as limitless as the original feeling may be, but we can thank these parts that have endeavoured to keep us safe, and recognise that they are not the sum of us, they never were, they are just the guardians and protectors of some old, core wounds and have done us a great service in many ways…as long as they don’t take up residency and dominate the landscape that is.
Life does not have to look or feel like a Sumo wrestling match between your perceived ‘good’ side or ‘bad’ side, your shadow and your light, but more that it’s the place where these aspects meet that really holds our freedom. If you are curious about what breath work can do for you, Alchemy of Breath host weekly online breath webinars, or you can work one to one or in groups with trained facilitators. If you are curious about exploring your shadow through your sexuality, again, there are teachers and facilitators I recommend for this kind of work. Please get in touch about either of these to learn more. Meanwhile, go find your balance and embrace your vulnerability….it will likely hold the treasure you seek.