Sometimes we can spend more energy in the surprise and/or despair that life has gone pear shaped than we do in bringing things back on track. Life is always going pear shaped in one way or another, yet we seem surprised when it does!
Even though there is so much learning to be had in the sludge of the lake (look at where the lotus blooms) we still try and avoid it - when in fact, what is called for is to roll up our sleeves and get to work. For when need meets intent meets grace that the magic really happens....
There are some lines from 'The Invitation' by Oriah Mountain Dreamer that really resonate with this potential place of stuckness in face of problems:
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
and not shrink back.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I also found this, which sums it up perfectly : Perhaps if we were to rename and redefine the shadow archetype as “teacher”, we would find the motivation and courage to face what is in the darkness of our collective basement. And learn.
One of my favourite Craniosacral holds is the 5 pointed star, you have to love how sacred geometry touches all of life! The 5 pointed star involves reminding the body of the relationship between the base of the cranium, the hip points and the shoulder points, so as a practitioner, I'll move around these points usually over a 10-15 minute portion of a session.
Why is it so special? Well, holding the left and the right sides of the body at the same time allows the neural relationship to be heard. In essence, the body remembers how to talk to itself and remembers where its fulcrum is (these 5 points dance around the fulcrum). It is a truly beautiful thing to witness energetically - yet it can also lead to cranial pelvic balancing - because of course, energy is followed by structure.
Some of my notes of experiences of clients during the 5 pointed star hold include:
"felt like a spiralling 5 pointed dancer around a central fulcrum point"
"right shoulder felt higher and spongy, the diagonal hold enabled this to settle back into balance"
"right side felt higher than the left; right hip was holding trauma; as I moved around the 5 points, client reported feeling lighter"
"client at first felt like a heavy stone where her body met the table - then she felt her whole body as intact and together (pelvic tilt through childbirth rebalanced itself)"
The image that often comes whilst doing this practice is of an autumn leave gently meandering to the ground, to a still place, on the whisper of a wind.....
One of the areas in biodynamic craniosacral therapy that intrigues me is the dance between space and containment. We find space and containment within our very physiology, our body - i.e. the pelvic, abdominal, thoracic and cranial cavities as spaces and the membranes/diaghrams as containers.
Space and containment is also mirrored in both our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. How many of us have issues with our boundaries? How often do we find ourselves feeling constricted or conversely, screaming to be given some space?
To me, this dance of space and containment is fundamental to life. Both are important, both are needed, and it is the balance within and without that we need to maintain for health and happiness to flourish.
Containment is about safety and security, it's about being held. We've all had times when we've hidden under the duvet in the foetal position; this is the medicine of containment. However, shock and trauma shatters the capacity not only to be safe, but also to feel safe. One of the key tasks of a therapist is to create a safe container for the session. The stronger and safer the containment, the more powerful the transformation is. It is definitely a paradox!
Space is freedom. It's growth. It's fluid. It contains the unknown, the magic and the mystery. It can bring on fear and excitement in equal measure. It's about breathing out and filling the extremes of yourself so you know where your edges are (both physically and in terms of how big you dream). It leads to strength and inner knowing. So the other key task of a therapist is to ensure that the field of perception has enough space to match the client's needs.
And as with any good dance, every meeting will be different, the rhythms will change and fluctuate. But what is born of the dance between space and containment is profound and uniquely yours.....
Dr Sutherland discovered over a hundred years ago that our physiology expresses a subtle rhythmic motion: inhalation (a rising and widening) and exhalation (a settling and narrowing). Not only does this happen inside the body, it happens outside us too. The world around us is also breathing - we are all within the ocean of primary respiration.
But what does this mean? If we can access a place of stillness, we can feel the long tide and really understand the interchange that we have with the world around us....
Rollin Becker had a radical definition of health: 'health is related to an interchange between body physiology and stillness.' When we are in health, we have a relationship to stillness, but with our busy busy lives, we lose this interchange in daily life. As a result we lose some of our emotional and physical wellbeing.
Dr Sutherland recognised the importance of stillness : 'it is the stillness of the Tide, not the stormy waves that bounce upon the shore, that has the potency, the power.' Stillness is dynamic and lives at the heart of all life; it is the source of our power.
It has been suggested that the reason we are so out of touch with our bodies is because of our lack of connection to space. As most things are space and not form (even the extremely small radius of an atom still contains 99.999% space), this is a fundamental issue for our health and wellbeing.
As a practioner, its important to know that stillness is at the centre of everything; listening and following a strain pattern until you find the stillness where health can be restored is key to wellbeing!
Also, love what Dr Sutherland had written on his gravestone : Be still and Know.