“It’s dead quiet. The air is heavy. A faint glow falls in through the crack between the thick curtains. It smells musty like my grandparents’ Sunday room with the thick carpets and curtains. Is it still light outside or is dusk already setting in? An older man sits at the walnut table. His gaze is acidulous and his eyes flinty and somewhat cold. His stinging, presumptuous gaze glides through the room, passing all of us and stops at me. I feel small and not at ease. I am tired and bracing myself. I see my sister looking tightly ahead. My brothers and sister look frustrated, downright angry. My parents seem nervous. The tension is palpable. His gaze is sharp as he begins to fire off his questions. In his eyes I read his disapproval; I am thin, far too thin. “Do I realize what I am doing to my family? ” Very briefly I feel the shame on my cheeks, I sense my eyes tighten and my jaw stiffens. And then I’m on the sideline, I see his mouth move and look at my pale full-moon face with her dark gray eyes. My ears cease to listen and I hide in my own little world dark as night… I am there, I am not there… The verdict falls. Only more weight can help me.
It’s 10 years earlier. A bright spring day, birds are twittering and a gentle summer breeze rustles through the trees. Children’s laughter and voices echo through the hallways. It’s my first day and shyness and curiosity battle together as I step hesitantly into the new classroom. Around me watchful glances and the occasional smile. I am watched by a group of girls and crack a shy smile. A sharp voice cuts through the room. The piercing cold eyes of an old gruff woman bore into me. I feel awfully uncomfortable. She calls me to come to the front of the class. With clammy hands I stand in front of the blackboard, sweat gushes down my back, I feel the heat rising to my cheeks…She is the teacher and I feel that she does not like me. She makes a snide comment about my father. I feel myself shrinking and my cheeks flush red, tears prick my eyes, clouding my vision. In front of me, I hear booing and laughing and commenting about my fire-red head, my name, my teeth and my ears. Later in the schoolyard, they stand before me, the group of boys from my class. They push me and pull me along and hiss that they are not done with me yet. My first day of some long angsty years. No jolly child laughter for me…
15 years later. It was a tough day like any other. I still can’t find my safe spot. It’s lonely inside me and I live as if it were mostly night. I stand in the soft light of a theater lamp waiting. I am a woman now, in my forties, on the brink of being too skinny with full-moon eyes and a bite mark on my hand. I struggle with eating and forgetting. Each time, the past catches up with me. In front of me dancing couples. I see them half in my mind’s eye. I’ll get to work in a moment. The light dances with the people and for a moment I dance with them. Then I feel the presence of this other woman, my muscles tense, my alarm goes off. I have eyes everywhere and read the undercurrent in everyone. A cold shiver runs down my spine, I hold my breath. Unwittingly, I close my ears. I feel my body shrink. Then I look at my colleague. In her eyes, I read our struggle. I have learned how to bend to her tastes and plaster on an appropriate smile. Always that echo of deep shame and not feeling welcome. No matter how hard I work and how good I get, it doesn’t seem to change the painful thought of not being safe and accepted. How I would love to get away from the intrigue and backstabbing here.”
Yesterday I participated in an online training course to become a NIA Blackbelt teacher with about twenty other women. The assignment we got was to take turns in front of the camera, engaging the other women into your dance. All at once, I was re-trapped in this old story: the punishment, the shame, not being good enough, the fear of being ridiculed… I felt the shrinking motion, so familiar to me, of wanting to vanish into thin air. I quickly turned off my camera in a flight response. And there it was the: “IT IS ENOUGH” voice from deep inside. I’m done hiding, being invisible. Back on again I put the camera, raising my middle finger to this story. Both shy and at the same time curious and determined to enjoy the dance, I stepped into my light and let myself be seen.
It is said that the vibration of our energy attracts situations that match it. Thoughts and emotions send out their frequencies and the vibration that is released with them looks for a match. It is for this reason that some situations continually come your way and shake up your life until you begin to emanate a different vibration, take a different action.
Old childhood pain takes on big forms. In our subconscious, the hurt children go their own way. In the therapy world, it is also called the shadow. That’s where all the emotions live that are too painful and unsafe to deal with. I had my ways of pushing the shadow away from me, dissociating was one of them. It was in no way pleasant to live in a very tense and exhausted body either. I was very easily overwhelmed and always on high alert.
Living with so much tension and anxiety comes with a price. Sooner or later, the body says “No”. My body decided enough was enough on one rainy, grey and cold winter day. She was done with the toxic environments that I managed to get myself into, time and time again. As if this past painful story had to be told over and over again. That one day, that tough day like all the other days, I chose a new movement in a different direction, while my body took the lead: the road to pleasure, spontaneity and pure being. This is where my journey into joy and vitality began. Only when the immediate threat is gone, do the survival patterns come to the surface. The coping attitudes- and behaviors, the deep beliefs and emotional habits that are on auto-repeat.
My journey progressed in stages. First I got to know my body, feel at home with her… The dance that once knocked me out, now let me find my way back home. Feeling safe doesn’t come overnight. It requires tuning in, again and again, attuning with the flow of feelings within, the movement of the body, the contraction and expansion, the pain and pleasure. I kept asking questions, curious about the relationships within, eager to learn. Slowly descending, playing with my fear and my desire for pleasure, while letting my roots sense into the earth while I gently fell through emotional layers. Quaking, shaking, screaming, laughing through a sea of tears, I came home to myself, embracing my precious inner sparkle.
Do you have old stories and identities that keep you trapped in pain and tension?
Are you done with them? Do you want to re-find your inner sparkle and let it shine?
I am happy to shine my light on you. Let me be your sparkle guide and support you on your journey.
Did you know that I also give solo retreats here in the beautiful nature of southern Spain? You will stay in a sweet little house among olives and almonds, overlooking the beauty and power of mother earth. Besides the ‘inner journey sessions’, I will make sure you eat deliciously healthy and have all the space you need to unwind, digest and make a new movement. Want to know more? Book a skype/zoom session with me here