I called someone this week to talk about a particular physical therapy I’m thinking about trying. It’s offered by a yoga teacher I know and trust in that context at least, so if I were going to try this, it’d be with her. But I’m pretty nervous. I phoned her partly to discuss some practicalities but I also wanted to tell her something about myself and about why I’d like to do this, and — more than anything else, I realise — I really wanted to give her the excuse to put me off and tell me this wasn’t for me! 😦 I wanted to tell her that I’m terrified this might be a really liberating experience for me (much more than I worry it could be a vast waste of money), but that I find it hard to relax when someone’s manipulating my body and I’m making an enormous gesture of trust in even contemplating it; I wanted to tell her my body has let me down so often that I’ll probably disappoint her in some obscure way by not physically responding in the expected or ‘normal’ way.
But we ended up not talking about any of these things. “I know you a little” was her short response to me asking what background she needed from me before we started, “and we all have our narratives that we hold on to, so you will too”. Um, yes, that’s right. Her dismissal was gentle but firm, as she is in her yoga teaching. An exemplar of the ‘holding space’ concept, allowing each student to work their stuff out, reflecting back to them where they are and through that helping them identify the work. It’s quite wonderful to witness — especially if the narratives that bind me have already loosened a little permitting this perspective even on my own tangle of problems.
And this conversation happened on the day I’d been for a final session with my local physiotherapist. Several hours after that physical manipulation of my spine I started to feel, as I always do, horribly vulnerable, levered open physically and emotionally a little more than I am ready for. It’s quite a weird feeling although I’m getting more used to it; it just makes me feel in need of quiet and solitude until it passes. The fact that I can experience the mind-body connection like this is still a source of wonder to me, so I try to treasure it for what it teaches rather than reject it from simple discomfort.
I’m trying to face challenges at the moment, to enquire into my fears, and see if I can inch my way forward in spite of them, or to dispel them through positive action and positive thinking. So I’m going to book a first session and see how it goes. If I try to reason everything out in advance, I’ll never move forward. So here goes… Given how intimate this therapy can be, I’m almost literally embracing my fear. I’m quite excited actually!