It had been a rough second week. There had been emotional dramas all around and as the course progressed into what she felt was a mayhem of unresolved conflicts and unpredictable outbursts, she withdrew deeper and deeper into a cold state of fear.
With the logic of a twisted mind she told herself that this was good for her. That she allowed herself to feel fear. Probably something great, like anger (!), would come out of it. So she took care of that fear by cradling it and crouching in corners, sobbing into multiple layers of Kleenex, and by choosing to sit with some distance to the group, covering her ears when it got too much.
To be fair nothing bad had happened to her that week, nor had she discovered some terrible suppressed memory. She had only witnessed others fall down or crack. Yet in doing so she inevitably felt the chaos of rumbling feelings that lay a mere two millimeter below the surface as soon as all the participants entered the big room, where all meditations and therapeutic exercises took place. However, by being exposed to what she felt had no border or limit, the lightest shift in energy or the smallest remark simply sucked the life force out of her.
Rock bottom came when she completely lost connection with what was real. She could no longer distinguish what was her pain, a pain from the past, or something of the present, and what was other’s hurt. Naturally, she refused more and more to enter her body as there were way too few handles to hold on to, no emergency break to pull, and what met her just made her cry. There was simply no protection available, and no guarantees of survival were given.
She sat there with tunnel vision and tinnitus, could not feel a single part of her body except her high pulse that kept running all over her body. Her hands shook, shoulders were tensed and her stomach a tight not. She cried (a lot) yet she wasn’t entirely sure why, but the waterworks kept coming. In a place like this, where there’s always someone on the floor crawled up in fetal position bawling their eyes out, she thought her reactions were a sign that she was normal.
Professional advice: Give this feeling you’re experiencing a movement and a sound.
But how does one give a sound to the loudest silence you’ve ever heard? What movement represents that of frozen terror?
Ironically, the theme of this second week was about staying in touch with your body. An easy one she had thought, as she truly loved the body she was currently in possession of. Yet somehow, she had spent most of the week dissociated from herself. Had it not been for a couple of brilliant exercises that gave her exactly what she needed, some truly amazing insights, then she’s not sure she would have dared to continue. Had it not been for the post-course, unwavering support of the best psychologist she knew, then she probably would not had felt so good about going back up there again.
This friend of hers, because that is truly what the psychologist was, had a practice named Kintsukuroi. To repair with gold. To repair the cracks with gold to make the once broken object more valuable by letting the scars be the unique point of beauty. She loved this idea. He friend helped her understand what had gone wrong for her that week and what she could do differently. She was not afraid to face her pain and fear, but she had completely misunderstood what it meant to take care of your own feelings.
Professional advice that feels doable: When it gets too much; move around a little. Start communicating what is going on.
Now, a month later, I feel ready for the third week. For seven days straight we will connect with our inner child and poke around in the deepest of wounds, the longings of the child. Everyone say this is the toughest one, and one of the best. Prepare for endless sadness and anger.
I am ready. Nervous, yet confident in my survival skills.