Choose life

I was with my bodyworker on Monday. As always deep, deep work. She sure likes to give me my money’s worth! 75 minutes gets right into the very fibres of my body — the work on my fascia is just the superficial layer compared to what lies within and beneath. I had wanted to address the clicking noise I get whenever I move one hip out of deep flexion, so anatomically she was working on my sartorius, with a bit of a delve into the adductors (necessitating some very intimate hand placements), working on the tightness in the outer hip (just plain painful) and the proximal hamstring attachments (essentially her elbow in my butt cheek and her full body weight pressing in — big ouch).

She delivers all of this physical stuff with a no-nonsense touch. She means business, she will do what’s needed to help with the sticky bits in my tissues, even though that means causing a fair amount of physical discomfort. But she also does it with a massive dose of compassion and care and she is very tender towards the close of our time together, knitting me back together so I can walk away feeling whole and integrated.

But these moments of tenderness are when the next level of work emerges. Even while I’m trying to steady my breath through the pain of the tissue work, she’s probing me on a different level, requesting that I articulate how I’m feeling, how my mind is reacting to the situation, what the underlying narratives are — the stories that are held in my body, the emotional scar tissue. I let her drag some of this stuff to the surface, although I’m reluctant to bring it up for examination. I know that so much of the stories I tell myself is false and yet still I cling to them, tales of past hurt and shame and fear. They are so intrinsic I feel that — even if I could tease them out and unwind them from my muscles, my tissues, my heart — I might die from the separation from what I have held for so long to be the truth.

I stutter to express something of this deep holding — as if she can’t feel it viscerally under her fingers. She reminds me that things are different now, this is only one chapter of the story, and she supplies her own conclusion to my half-articulated narrative: “and you chose life“.

And those few words turned my world around.

I chose life. With the implication that now I must live it.

How, I suppose, is a story for another day. Or rather it is a story that I will write out a little more each day, as long as I live, until I have woven a new narrative that suits me better, one that I am proud to wear and show to the world. My life resides in each new breath I take, full of promise, lightness, and love.

Choose life, choose love.


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