Editor’s note: This article was written by a client of CranioSacral Therapy; it was not written by Laura Bishop.
To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Perception —Connection — Integration: Connected Heart Integration,” by Laura Bishop, in the April 2014 issue. Article summary: Quantum physicists say that although matter looks impenetrable, it is almost entirely nonsolid. In other words, we—and everything and everyone around us—are comprised almost entirely of energy. You don’t have to be a physicist to understand how this theory can contribute to connection and communication in your session room. We are all composed of particles, protons, neutrons, electrons and atoms, and all of these contain, and respond to, energy. If particles can respond to each other across a universe, what is possible across a massage table?
My childhood was extremely traumatic, and I lived in fear all the time that my mother would kill me. As a result, I suffered with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. In November 2012, the PTSD had been triggered for the third time in two-and-a-half years.
Each time something in my current life experience triggered something in my past, it seemed it was taking me longer and longer to become normal again. This latest time, I was five months into it and was exhausted. I felt I had used every tool in my belt to get the PTSD back under control, and nothing worked. I was losing hope. No matter how much I prayed for healing, thoughts of suicide were plaguing me. Little did I know I would soon have an answer to my prayers.
An Answer to Prayers
I heard about the Heart Centered Therapy classes from a friend of mine who is also a bodyworker. I did some research, and found a Heart Centered Therapy class being offered in Boise, Idaho. I was so intrigued by what I read about the class, that even though it was on the other side of the country, I registered. I hoped getting away would help alleviate my depression.
I thought I was going to learn how to dialogue with clients in a new way when doing a CranioSacral Therapy session. My life had changed course over the last few years and I wasn’t doing a lot of healing in the CranioSacral Therapy field, but felt a nudge to get back into the work. Heart Centered Therapy resonated with me as a good segue back into the CranioSacral Therapy work.
However, once I signed up and received the confirmation email explaining what we would be doing in class, I realized I would be receiving so much more than a refresher in dialoguing skills. The email stated the goal of the class is to work with and heal the root of our own traumas.
Healing the Root
At first, I could feel panic rising inside of me—but then I wondered if this was the answer to the prayer I’d been praying for weeks. I started to let go of the goal to just learn new dialoging skills, and began reaching for something much bigger: to be rid of PTSD. If the PTSD could be healed, I wouldn’t have to run from potential triggers and suicidal thoughts for the rest of my life. I began counting the days until I could travel to Boise.
I was more than a little nervous going into the first day of class. I knew there were many traumatic instances in my past and I didn’t want to have to relive all these traumas again. However, within the first couple of hours of class, I began breathing easier. Our instructor, massage therapist Alaya Chikly, the developer of the Heart Centered Therapy curriculum, explained we didn’t need to re-experience the trauma in order to heal. In fact, we didn’t need to get caught up in the story of what happened at all. As I was listening to her talk, I could feel her desire to hold a space where we could all feel loved and safe to do the work we needed.
One of the many things Alaya said that resonated with me was we are all connected and if we, as individuals heal, we all collectively heal. I sat there, looking around at the other 29 people in the room and thought, “If this is true,” which I felt it was, “then if I work really hard, and heal the wounds inside of me, just think of how much healing all the people in this room would get.” At that point, I was fully committed.
The layout of the class was perfect for me. Because the PTSD made me so stressed, knowing what to expect each day alleviated some of the anxiety. Each morning began with all of us in a circle. We had class time until lunch, and then after lunch tables were set up for us to be in teams of three to practice what we learned in class that morning. Each person was able to experience being the facilitator, the client, and the witness.
The First Day
Alaya has developed this class with several protocols. Each protocol can be used on its own, or can be used as part of the process of the deepest work Heart Centered Therapy encompasses. On the afternoon of the first day, we practiced the dialoguing skills we had learned in the morning. This process was about using what Alaya calls discovery questions. These questions allow the client to sink in further into the deepest feeling attached to whatever the trauma was. We began by asking the client, or the student who was on the table, who he wanted to work with spiritually. This could be anyone who the person felt could offer help if the client needed to feel safe or began feeling stuck.
Once the spiritual connection was made and the client felt safe, we moved on to the next part of the practice, which was to determine what the client wanted to work on. Once that was established, the facilitator began asking the client where he felt that issue in his body. Then the client gave that issue, or emotion, a shape, a color, a sound, and determined how deeply he felt this in his body. At first this seemed silly to me, but it really worked. Once that was established, the discovery questions began. This process would serve as the foundation for each day to follow.
The Second Day
The next day focused on inner child healing. I had done inner child work before, so the concept wasn’t foreign to me. In fact, for several months prior to class I’d been working with healing the shame left behind from the sexual abuse that happened to me by both my mother and stepfather. However, the Heart Centered Therapy inner child healing proved to be far different than the process I’d experienced before.
When Alaya said we, as children, will do whatever we need to do to align ourselves with our parents, including creating traumas, I was blown away. I immediately understood where the shame was coming from. I had aligned myself with my parents when I was a child and since they held shame in them, I created a situation in my own life so I would also feel shame. In the study guide, Alaya used the following example to explain this concept: “If a parent is lacking trust, the child will create a trauma to ensure they, too, cannot trust. When everyone shares in this loss of trust, there is a connection, or a unified way of being a family.” This resonated as truth inside of me and during my session of the inner child work, I was able to release that shame. I felt free, which, along with the feeling of being safe, was another way of being I wasn’t accustomed to experiencing.
The Third Day
The third day built on the other two days and was about healing our lineage. On this day, we identified what’s called the spiritual-emotional virus. This virus has been passed on from generation to generation. We continued to work with the inner child, but this process allowed us to identify where the virus is in the person who inflicted the trauma on us and understand the reason she inflicted trauma on us, was because that virus had also been inflicted on, or passed down to, her. We were able to determine where and when this virus first attached itself to that person’s lineage and heal that virus for each person affected through time.
No Longer a Skeptic
Now, I am a person who has her feet firmly planted on the ground. I am not into woo-woo practices, and am skeptical about a lot of things. This work was one of those things. I was open to possibilities, but was wary–until I experienced it for myself. I received healing on a level so deep there are no words to describe it. I am no longer a skeptic
Up until this class, I held so much hurt in my heart for all the trauma my mother had inflicted on me that I refused to remember there was a time when I felt connected to her. In fact, I loved her dearly. Even though my mother has left this earth, by the end of the third day of this loving, safe process, I was able to reconnect with her on a level I never thought possible. Once we found out where the trauma originated, the facilitator of my process took me through a step-by-step protocol to heal all the generations involved in this trauma up to today. I was able to understand the reason my mother had hurt me as a child was because she hadn’t received the love she needed when she was a child. The abuse was no longer personal. I understood her behavior had been passed from generation to generation. Because of the healing I received, the generations to come will not have to deal with that trauma being passed down to them. I felt honored to be part of that process.
By the end of the class, I felt loved like I had never felt loved before. My PTSD was gone, and I knew what my life’s purpose is. I am to use CranioSacral Therapy and Heart Centered Therapy to help people heal. Not just from past traumas, but to come back from feeling like they want to end their lives. I realized all I have been through up until today has prepared the way from me to do exactly that.