The following is a journal kept by one of my clients of her experiences with Craniosacral Therapy. You can find out more about Mary Ellen Lough from her website. CLICK HERE.
“Mary Ellen is not only a talented poet, but a woman of great spiritual and humanitarian strength who knows how to reach often marginalized students. She’s the real thing and brings to the table a way and a presence, a special touch, which I can only term a calling, a gift, a kind of magic. A woman of indisputable mettle with a generous spirit of shared purpose and joint humanity that her writing and her very life embodies.”
-Joseph Bathanti, Former NC Poet Laureate
Session 1 – Total relaxation. I don’t know if I fell asleep or fell off the planet for a minute. I have never felt so in nirvana. The following week lots of difficult things happened in regards to my intentions and prayers in moving forward. I was wondering if it was karmic die-off. The worst happening and kicking and screaming as it left and I resolved to surrender to important shifts in my life.
Session 2 – Saw myself in my mother’s womb. Back to the place before any fear or trauma had ever touched me – in pure rest. Totally safe. I could feel my mother’s love and sacrifice and willingness to be my mother around me. Her generosity to carry me. I began crying. When I rolled off the table, the largest tear had built up in the corner of my eye from sheer beauty, that when I rolled to the side, it splashed on the table as I moved. The following week, I had experiences of innocence and childhood. Like returning to my original nature. Contented perhaps? I happily and contentedly filled my alone hours making art and cutting and pasting, the way I did as a child, humming to myself and happy for my aloneness, as I did as a child, because I had no consciousness that it should be any other way. I had no other consciousness other than total presence to the moment. Child-like simplicity and being in the moment.
Session 3 – I am amazed at how this works. Such gentle touch, but Simon will hold certain points for a while, and sometimes certain emotions will rise up and I will just start crying inexplicably. Other times, I will go into a deeply relaxed state, and then suddenly a shudder or deep sigh will pass through my body and I will just go through a big release and he will move on. Each session seems to go deeper and I’ve been having intense internal journeys, almost out of body, crazy trips.
Today, I saw the earth (world) and it was being held by gentle hands, and then I saw they were a woman’s, and I kept zooming out and out, and I could see and feel her, the mother of the world, and how she was all gentleness and love – then I kept going way way out into the cosmos till even she was tiny and crumpled away, and I was in the space of perfect oneness with all that is.
There seem to be two layers of this treatment. What happens on the table and what happens in the time between. Again, after this session, with setting new intentions, I noticed an intensity of opposite happening. A lot of more acute loneliness and anxiety. Which seemed like the opportunity to continue to ground myself in truth and trust, knowing it will pass.
One other thing that has happened is I have finally been losing weight – a lot of it stress weight – that I have been carrying since my last child was born four and a half years ago under traumatic circumstances. My appetite has been regulating itself and my body seems to be naturally entering a cleanse and I have only been craving supportive and healthy foods. In the last month, I have lost 10 pounds.
I have been trying to be conscientious of my posture and not standing (or sitting) as if I hold the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have been, in general, more aware and in harmony with my body.
Session 4 :
By my fourth session, it seemed as if some very intense things became dislodged in my body. I experienced a very odd thing in my right hip. As Simon worked over that part, my whole right hip started convulsing, like there was trapped energy in there trying to get out. I became very emotional, sobbing though there was no physical pain, just waves of spasming and released emotions. I am a poetry therapist, and I was reminded of a Jane Hirshfield poem I have used often to teach. I will copy it below. As a poet and a healer, I know that trauma can become trapped in the body. For years, I have had intense dreams and problems with my right hip. Why that area in particular was holding so much emotion and energy, I don’t know. Poetry helps me comfortable with mystery and uncertainty. But after each session, I am hopeful of becoming more of who I would be without all the trauma I’ve carried through my life. And that is a gift I couldn’t measure.
BY JANE HIRSHFIELD
One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.
Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.
I don’t know how either came or left. Later, the flashlight found nothing.
For a year I watched
as something—terror? happiness? grief?— entered and then left my body.
Not knowing how it came in, Not knowing how it went out.
It hung where words could not reach it. It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat, neither sensualist nor ascetic.
There are openings in our lives of which we know nothing.
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.
Session 5 :
My fifth session was very similar to the fourth, in that great spasms and emotions began to happen through my right hip. Simon has been so wonderful each session in noticing where I am holding tension, particularly in my neck and head, and taking extra time each session to massage and relax areas in my body which are simply too tense to maybe receive the subtle touch involved in CST. As Simon is a gifted massage therapist in addition to a gifted healer, each time he massages my tense areas, I feel such a wave of relief and relaxation, that I can really just kind of let go and surrender into the deeper work. Which, in this case, is whatever kind of mysterious thing happens when he lightly holds his hands under my back and above my right hip. Each time I leave I feel lighter and brilliant and somehow truer to myself. Honestly, it has been having a great impact on my sense of self-worth and confidence. I have been feeling radiant, shining, and beautiful. This is not my normal experience of myself, though perhaps it should be. Perhaps it is that a big part of my emotional trauma that I have been carrying through my days is the impact of my adult relationship and marriage to emotionally abusive partners.
In my life, I am noticing great shifts in my emotional equilibrium and ability to focus and feel present. From working with trauma, I know that the symptoms for PTSD look the same as ADD. In addition to working through PTSD for most of my adult life, I have also in the last year been diagnosed with adult ADD. While I know that my ADD predates my adult trauma, as a child I experienced my ADD differently than I do now. That is, I understood it as the place where my healthy creativity arose from and my ability to get lost in the creative process for hours at a time. I have been slowly returning to this creative flow while also being able to hold other parts of my life in place. I have noticed that my smile seems bigger, the light in my face and eyes stronger. I think that as the layers of trauma are removed, our original light is able to shine more brightly.
Session 6 :
My last session came after a long break. I noticed that my body has become more sensitive to when it is out of balance, and it easier to correct. On the table during the last session, I found it was most similar to the first. My body was no longer having the same spasming and my right hip seemed subdued, or whatever had been so intensely responding had cleared. I fell to sleep again, and awoke to a start. The tension in my neck and my inability to let go and allow my neck to relax has been the same. Other healers have told me that I hold onto things, I have difficulty letting go. Perhaps also because I am driving children around for three to four hours a day during rush hour traffic, and waitressing at a fast paced Lebanese restaurant while doing my creative work, rehabbing an old farmhouse, carrying the responsibility of life as a single mother to five children, and doing intense healing work with trauma myself, that my shoulders and neck are just going to suffer unless I am taking regular time for yoga and massage and self care.
I trust this process of CST and have begun recommending it to all my friends who carry hidden trauma. I can’t exactly explain it, but I have seen it work at healing on very deep levels. Simon asked if I have seen shifts in my posture. As I said that I hold on to things, I think I might need more than six sessions to go to the next level of release and I hope to continue this work in some way. What I *can* say is that it is easier to notice when my body is out of alignment because I have a reference point for when my body is in balance. Where as sometimes you don’t know you’re sick because your body has become so accustomed to feeling sick, you don’t know what healthy feels like. I would, and do, recommend this kind of work to anyone. I recommend it in conjunction with having some talk therapy, or close friends for support to talk through things as they come up. I recommend it with maybe making some dietary shifts, say giving up really heavy foods and excessive caffeine or alcohol, to maximize your body’s receptivity to it. I definitely noticed bigger healing leaps when I was taking care of myself and my body in other ways. I planned longer times to be alone, and enjoyed those times, whereas before I often felt antsy and lonely. As I said before, I think I have recovered a more natural way of being that I lost since childhood, and that is long enjoyable hours of creative alone time. Other things that healed were a long-term fungus infection I had on my feet for a long time and I had despaired of ever healing. I lost weight, my skin improved and I have been more focused and even keeled emotionally. These are not small things. I look forward to seeing the effect of the work in my friends’ lives and my continued journey with CST.
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