There are so many skills taught on the biodynamic craniosacral course that are also key life skills. For example, we are taught how to come into relationship with a client which is as relevant in the outside world as it is in the therapy room - in meetings, family events, random stranger meetings, you name it!
But what does 'coming into relationship' mean? For me, this means building a bridge between my world and the client's world; it means finding a playing field where we are both safe and held. In essence, it's about making a connection, with Heart, that allows trust to flourish.
The three questions I need to answer to enable me to come into relationship in a way of gentleness are:
i) How much physical space does this person need from me?
Space and containment are fundamental building blocks of craniosacral therapy. Some people need lots of physical space to enable them to "arrive" (energetically turn up) so being keyed into a client's state of being from the initial meeting is important before even starting a session. This would then dictate things like how far should the chairs be apart to take the case history?
ii) Which side are they more comfortable with me being in orientation to them?
Often, we will have a side that feels more vulnerable, which might be related to the lie-side when in utero or a traumatic event. We may not even be conscious of this ourselves but if you take a moment to review past encounters with people, you may see a pattern of the "hairs going up on the back of your neck" when someone is on your left for instance. Or a feeling of unease in the pit of your stomach. Many people do not like others standing behind them. As cranial work aims to support the nervous system, putting someone in flight or fight syndrome by your orientation to them is very counter-productive!! So I always take time to sense what position the client will be most comfortable with me to enter their space and start the hands-on treatment.
iii) What is the best way for this person to help their story unfold?
I like taking a free-flowing case history because this often enables the client to unfold their own story, in the order that is necessary for them. I often find that someone comes with a symptom (e.g. backache) but given the space to be listened to, will recount the life events that superceded the symptom, which is exactly what cranial work enables. Witnessing the unfolding of a life story, of a case history, is an honour each and every time. I am constantly moved at the resilience and heart shown by people, in the face of grief, trauma and heart ache.
There is so much richness in relationship, no matter what the type.
On this ground we meet
We reach out
On this ground we unite
Why do we give ourselves a hard time when we make mistakes? And why do we amplify the mistakes and forget the successes? This feels like such a huge area that needs to be unpicked – as Mahatma Gandhi said “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
And if we do not allow ourselves to have that freedom, if we do not allow ourselves to make mistakes, it directly impacts on our dreams, aspirations and general wellbeing. Being at ease with our successes and our mistakes opens up such a huge door of opportunity and creativity, all possibilities there for the taking... Just take a moment and feel how this would impact on your life.
Another great man (Einstein) said “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” It’s interesting to do an assessment of what you’ve learnt from mistakes you’ve made in life. And what you’ve learnt from your successes in life. For me, I feel I’ve learnt much more from the mistakes, but that the successes are the jewels that give me the confidence to pick myself back up again when things have gone pear-shaped. But the crucial thing is, both speak to freedom.
It's really important to understand the difference between reality and our perceptions. We often confuse perception for reality. After all our thoughts and feelings (experience) feel incredibly real to us so it’s not surprising that we consider them for truth. Yet often the lens we are looking through is compromised in some way...
There are (at least) 3 factors that can influence our perceptions: experience, motivational state and emotional state. In different motivational or emotional states, we will react to or perceive something in different ways. Also in different situations we may tend to "see what we want to see".
We all get caught up in our stories at some stage in life (or even for all of it!). Most of us think we are our stories. It’s when those stories take on a life of their own, and that life isn’t the one we want, that things start to go rapidly downhill.
So I urge you to spend some time in seeing perception versus reality, getting a sense of where you get caught in non-reality.
Why would you want to do that? Well as Yeats says “The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”