The first time I became consciously aware of a trauma stored in my body, and released that trauma, is when I was in massage school.
In 2007, I spent 3 months in India learning and getting certified in yoga and Ayurveda. I went to India for two reasons--(1) it's the birthplace of yoga, and (2) I wanted to get as far away from my life as possible. I was completely burnt out from my career in hospitality management, and from being a functioning alcoholic. Literally everything in my life needed to change.
Less than 6 months after returning from India, I found myself in massage school (a decision that was made less than a week before classes began). A perk of the school was free counseling with one of the teachers, Michael, a Vietnam Vet who specialized in working with trauma release. With a closet full of trauma, I didn't hesitate to sign myself up! One of these sessions completely transformed my life and created a foundation for the work I do, and teach, here at OBI.
For as long as I could remember, I had chronic pain in my shoulder. In this session, Michael invited me to focus on this pain. The invitation was to breathe and fully explore this pain, to notice all aspects of it and go deeper into it. Was there a memory connected to this? A message? Yes, there was.
I found myself in the kitchen where my family lived in when I was 13 years old, in the midst of a highly charged/volatile situation. As I explored the pain in my shoulder, I completely flashed back to that event. I could see, hear, smell, and feel everything... exactly as if it was happening in that moment. As you may imagine, this was emotional and difficult!
Michael kept ensuring me that I was safe, and guided me to work through this traumatic moment in my history. He did this through communication and touch. He gently supported my shoulder, helping to "unwind" the pain by encouraging me to make any movements my arm and body needed. He gently assisted my movements, as he coached me through the session.
During this process, I cried, screamed, and puked in a bucket.
And then the pain and memory were gone. Completely gone! I felt light and free. I looked at Michael and started laughing. We laughed together, and it seemed so preposterous that I had been in complete agony just moments before. I remember thinking and saying something like, "This is what life is all about!"
Suddenly everything was more vibrant and beautiful! I decided to take a drive across Paynes Prairie to appreciate the scenery--the magnificent nature and sunset. On the other side of the Prairie is a little pizza restaurant, where I chose to go in and order something sweet.
I ordered a piece of key lime pie. As I sat there with a smile on my face, thinking about how amazing life is, I enjoyed the best piece of key lime pie I've ever had. The pie was tastier than normal as a result of all my senses being heightened from my healing.
When we heal a trauma blockage from the body, life force energy flows in. We feel more connected, more energized, more powerful, and we recognize we have more options.
The heightened senses and overwhelming gratitude for life don't always remain on a day to day basis after clearing trauma from the body, but the memory stays. This memory becomes a resource for us, something that inspires hope and reminds us of the value in healing. I know I will never forget, and I am grateful I get to help others heal in similar ways!