Balasana

Balasana, the child’s pose, is the most comforting asana for me. In Balasana you sit back on your heels and fold your chest across your thighs, basically the fetal position but with your knees and shins as the base. Today I may be sitting upright while in public, but I feel like I am that little, curled up ball.

Per the recommendation of my teacher Satya, I went to see Kumar a local spiritual guide/healer. I had heard about the experiences of other's sessions with him, about how some had regressed to their childhoods or even to past lives. I have no experience identifying other trips around this particular cosmic block, but I do get regular bouts of déjà vu, so I was open to the idea that anything was possible.

When I arrived at Kumar’s Mumuksha Center for Transformation, he began by asking me some questions about what I wanted to work on. I told him that I had recently gone through the complete upheaval of my existence, but that I was feeling pretty good about how I had made choices and changes as a result, so I thought it might be good to delve a bit deeper into my behavior patterns. He asked me to tell him the emotions that surrounded my divorce and I immediately came up with shame, sadness, fear and hurt. Shame garnering the top spot.

From there he began with some body work/massage and instructed me to tell him if anywhere particularly hurt or if I saw any colors or images associated with an area of my body during the session. When he got to my right hamstring my body started twitching. So he went deeper, he spoke to the knot in the middle of my thigh and when he did a swirl of blue-green came into my mind’s eye. He asked me to name the emotion I felt there - I felt cold and frightened. Then the blue-green turned into inkly swirls of three-dimensional black, a chaotic dance of mercury-filled licorice strings which caused my eyes to twitch and my stomach to convulse.

He moved on … left hip and left shoulder, big blocks. This is of course not news to me; those are areas of daily consternation in my asana practice as well. The shoulder elicited a darker teal color, a pulsing heat and a sense of anger, the hip was purple and it held some more cold fear. They say you carry your relationships with men and women in your hips, left: feminine, right: male – or more specifically right: father, left: mother. My mom and I spent the next hour together in an intimately woven tale that took me back to the womb and showed me the very source of my defining emotional characteristic … guilt.

Kumar guided me through my gestation, birth and a particularly vivid memory from when I was somewhere around two. Once the turning points were established, I began to revisit these times, to release the guilt and then a new color came into my mind - calm, cool, sky blue, the color of glacial ice on an overcast day, the color of relief, the color of my eyes.

That journey gave me a deeper understanding of my habitual behaviors and a visceral, palpable sense of love and respect for my beautiful mother.

I came back to the present with ears full of the tears that had been streaming down my face. I came back bewildered, exhausted and not entirely sure it had been real. An hour later and I am still trying to wrap my mind around it all. I feel mentally drained. Physically, I am acutely aware of the space around my solar plexus, it feels hollow, like there is room for something new in there.

From here words begin to fail me, only the coming days will tell if I am changed, if I am free or freer from the guilt that has for so long been the basis for my decisions. We'll see if I can not only identify the patterns, but change them.

Over the years, part of me justified my guilty motives by telling myself I was being selfless, that guilt was a virtue. Subconsciously I think I granted myself the honorary title of guilt martyr. I decided I was Julie McCoy, cruise director to everyone else’s happiness and my own suffering. I allowed myself to bundle up heaps of passive-aggressive angst that would burst open at seemingly random times.

Anyone who was the recipient of the implosion of my guilt cache, (usually my parents or my best friend/ex-husband) had no chance, it wasn’t a fair fight. They were defending themselves with the present and I was fighting with months or years of ammo. This meant that even if I had a current legitimate grievance it was lost in the hailstorm of past affronts. The end result was always me apologizing and quickly replenishing my stockpile of guilt.
I can see the pattern as clearly as anything now. I could see what I was doing in the moment a lot of the time, but guilt drove me, or more specifically the anger that latent guilt had turned in to. Guilt became anger, which became shame, which nourished the guilt and so it went for 35 years.
I think I’m ready for a new defining emotion, I wonder if joy is available? Perhaps jubilation got a pink slip in the current economic turmoil, or maybe compassion is looking for a new job. Help me spread the word … there is a vacancy in my solar plexus if any healthy emotions are looking for a new place to set up shop. I’ll be conducting interviews from the fetal position.

1 comment:

nina said...

Wonderful Rachel!
For the time I was reading your wonderful story I was with you in Mysore. Thanks for sharing this personal en touching experiance! Love, Nina

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