Moments of Clarity Part One
I have spoken, often, of my difficulties with duality. I have, for almost all of my life, been Nellie Forebush… Pollyanna... whatever fictional character one might pick when referring to someone who is optimistic. I have also morphed into this anger ball from time to time – sometimes that time to time lasts years. It is a tug-o-war that consumes me. The balancing act that is the person at my core and the person I create can be exhausting. I have been focusing inward in an attempt to find out why I have had to create a person born out of anger and, in recent months (weeks, really) things have come to light. These revelations of so personal nature are difficult to share; but I have committed to telling my stories, hoping that they might help others – and I must stay true to that commitment. So. Fear of revealing too much, of being judged, of being vulnerable tossed aside, I share my story with anyone who wishes to hear it.
There is this pain in my neck. No, it’s a real pain the neck. It’s not a person or a politician or the MTA or anything like that. I have this pain in my neck. It tends, generally, to sit in the left muscle, though there are times when it radiates over to the right. Sometimes it locks up. Sometimes I can’t turn my head. Sometimes I have to go to sleep just to get away from the pain. It has had some control over my life, these last few years. I have spent countless hours and dollars in the offices of chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, cranio sacral therapists, physicians – you name it, I’ve tried it. I had reached a point where I was resigned to living with it, the rest of my life. Mike Babel, one of my massage therapists, said “NO. You won’t live with this the rest of your life.” But I was resigned. I began working with Elizabeth Delabarre, who practices different forms of healing techniques, but I was seeing her, specifically, for cranio sacral work. After one session with her I had more mobility in my neck than I had had in years. After two sessions with her, I had developed hope for a pain free life. On my third visit, though, I had the breakthrough.
While lying on the table, feeling Elizabeth’s hands on my neck and back, chatting peacefully, I found myself answering her questions about my life and what it is I experience, with regards to pain; what kinds of discoveries I and my other body workers had made. I spoke of theories that the reason I had so much tension in my neck was the anger I feel, almost all the time. Everyone has a theory. Stress… gall bladder… writer’s posture… Who can say? Elizabeth did ask me, because I opened the door to the topic, about anger. What is it that makes me angry, that has been making me angry for so long? I answered her, honestly, and we continued to talk about anger and other emotions; about processing them, about owning them, about not trying to get rid of them or push them down or away. It was a good, a long, talk that opened my eyes… a little. Later, for a reason I do not remember, Elizabeth asked me about my birth. I explained to her that I had been premature by a month.
“Well, there it is, then.”
She asked me for the whole story. I told her. My mother went into labour, her water broke and I was coming. There were complications. The doctors took me. My lungs were not finished forming, so they put me in an incubator. They woke my mother (in those days women were given drugs for the birth) with these words: “Mrs Mosher, what religion do you want your baby baptized?” Mama sat up in bed and said, “What’s wrong with my baby?” They told her that I was with incomplete lungs and that they did not expect me to live through the night.
Elizabeth nodded and said “No wonder you’re so angry.” I asked for further detail. “You were in a warm and loving place where you were in constant physical contact with a human, your mother. Suddenly, you were ripped from that place by a pair of hands that grabbed you by your head and neck and pulled you out. Now wonder your neck hurts all the time. Then, you were taken and placed in a cold (albeit warmly climated) place where NOBODY touched you at all but, instead, stood around, waiting for you to die. No wonder you’re so angry.”
Within moments of Elizabeth saying this, my head began to twist… first to the left, then to the right… it wound its’ way around in circles and in figure eights, at times landing in a position that was a complete 90 degree angle to my shoulder. As my neck untwisted like a telephone cord, hot tears poured from my eyes and rolled down my temples, welling up in my ears.
When I left Elizabeth’s office, I touched my neck. The muscles there felt like soft butter. There were no lumps. There were no knots. There was only relaxed tissue.
I knew this was not the only answer to the problems in my life and my body. I knew that there was more discovery to make, more work to be done. I knew this was a watershed moment that, in the end, would be only that: a moment.
It was a start, though.