It’s fear I said. I could see it and feel it just below my belly. The darkness that had been plaguing me for months, that I thought could only be rid of through exorcism, was actually old fear welling up inside of me.
I laid on my back on the massage-like table in Stephanie’s office. She was using Cranial Sacral Therapy to help me deal with the darkness I was feeling deep within my body. Her hands were beneath my sacrum and lower spine. As she slowly moved them towards my neck and finally to the top of my head I felt a spasm in my spine as if it unraveled. I was longer, there was more space in my body. Something had shifted.
We had been talking about making decisions. Something that has been difficult for me my whole life. It was only about 5-6 years ago, when I got divorced, that I really began making my own decisions and taking responsibility for them. And now I realized that I had this notion that each decision was final. I believed that any one decision could and most likely would be the one that changed my life, and always for the worse. For me decisions always came down to the story of “If I just hadn’t done that, this wouldn’t have happened” It’s the kind of thinking that comes when something truly bad happens, like an accidental death or injury. But in my mind every decision was potentially dangerous to this degree. Every decision was either right or wrong and it was a fifty-fifty chance that I’d get it right.
My eyes were closed and every once in a while Stephanie’s voice would break the silence. Life doesn’t stop with each decision she told me. You make a decision then you adjust to that decision and make another one. Decisions are not right or wrong. And you’re the only one who gets to decide what is best for you. I let her words sink in, so simple, so obvious, yet not something I knew. For the first time I could see the trajectory of a life that rolled from one decision to the next, moving gently and slowly without the sudden stops and starts of judgement.
Then Stephanie asked me for a word that described what I was feeling. I didn’t have a word, but a picture. Inside my body, a part of my body, I saw a flower with a long, thin, supple stem that was dancing easily with the wind that blew it. And each time it swayed seeds burst from its center and scattered in the breeze.
That’s when I knew that the darkness that had been haunting me for the past few months, was not a demon to be exorcised, but old fear that had risen from deep inside of me. Most likely it was coming up now because lately I had been doing lots of things that were out of my comfort zone. Taking big steps in my life and work. Making decisions that scared me. It was the fear I felt as a kid, and that fear was protecting me at a time when making decisions was unsafe for me. It was my father I saw in my mind, whose randomly angry reactions to my actions were incomprehensible to me. Right and wrong were arbitrary. The smallest decision became potentially dangerous.
A part of me was still living in this childhood paradigm. The doubt and fear and panic about decision making was answering to an authority long gone. So I told the scared child, which was the the fear living inside of me, that I was the only authority over my life and body now. I get to make the decisions, get to decide right and wrong. And when she was scared she could come to me, that I would take care of us.
Something shifted in me then. I could feel it. Intellectually I knew all of this years ago, but my body didn’t know it. My body was still living in the old fear, in conflict with my mind. The work I did with Stephanie helped me to really know this. When I stood up from the table, I felt taller. “Like a giant”, I told Stephanie.
It’s been three days, and I’ve been able to hold onto this feeling, this new knowledge of myself. I know there’s more work involved, there always is. But I got my strength back, my centering, my grounding. The darkness is now just a child’s fearful voice inside of me, looking for assurance. And now, I’m able give her that assurance. I had other visions and and other experiences during my session with Stephanie, but I’ll write about them separately. I have not doubt they’re all connected, but at the moment I can’t really see how. I think that’s something that will need more time.