The body remembers. It’s a library of our lives. It offers so many opportunities to listen to it, yet so often we ignore it in our so-called ‘time poor’ days, until something goes ‘wrong’. And we are forced to stop.
The last few days I’ve experienced an unassailable sadness. Like going around covered by a shroud, at once thick and thin, blinkered and blanketed. So that when I went to the doctor’s I burst into tears when he greeted me. In the doctor’s quiet, humane, presence – a brilliant man – I could only mumble about not knowing what to say, about going in circles, round and round.
When someone is truly present to another, healing naturally occurs. People hear each other, themselves, differently, sometimes as if for the first time.
Presence becomes, is, a container, a listening bowl where stories can emerge, be told, be swished around, mixed, uncovered. Presence sets boundaries and has no boundaries. In it, one can be annointed again, touched by mystery even if, at that moment, rational understanding lags behind.
Talking with my doctor didn’t solve what was happening for me. Nor was there any answer, nor did he try to fix me. He listened, outlined an approach he would take in combination with a colleague, explained the reasoning behind that, where he could help, where he couldn’t. Again, boundaries, but subtle ones; supple.
I left feeling heard. Left still crying too.
That was the beginning of my healing, I see today. It was a crack in the fortress. The facade of having it all handled, of having even the out of hand handled. Trying to control being out of control.
The body remembers. Reminds. Re-minds us. Knows before the mind does.
Today I played a lot of wild Irish and Scottish music, lyrical and floating, emboldening, ancestral for me, grounding even as it lightened. Like an otherworldly portal too.
Images came to mind; sensations too. A thickening of the throat; the smell of tar and boiling oil; the shouts of men lashing out at me, some other me, another lifetime, perhaps in the 1700’s, colonial America. A sinking feeling; torches burning. Sneers. Waves of humiliation. Of feeling trapped.Coughing.
I went with the images, went with the music, each different track apt, like a guided meditation of songs and melodies, almost as if already arranged.
I kept hearing the word ‘burnish’, and ‘burnishing’. I looked up the etymology of burnish, found that there’s an etymological link with the word ‘brown’ through the German and Icelandic, and that there are also links – in the word ‘brown’ – to Greek and Indo-European and Sanskrit, in the nouns ‘toad’, beaver’ and ‘mongoose’.
The symbolic meanings of those animals relate to water, renewal, resurrection, protection, with links to the Otherworld.
No wonder in the last few days I’d started to wear brown coloured clothing instead of the usual blues and greens.
Again, the body remembers, knows.
Of course, I’ve abbreviated some of the process here, and don’t really like that word, process. Nor am I claiming all is well and healed. By no means, but I’ve got a start here, a re-imagining, carried along by the suggestions in words, their own histories, even if, at some point, in copying something down I may have made a mistake, still the process will unfold. I’ve been awakened to something else at work within me that can carry me beyond myself. Re-embodying, re-inhabiting the world.