My journey into my emotions began in 1986 with “re-birthing”; strange to sense and feel my body with the aspiration and buzz of circular breathing – the numbing and cramping of my fingers, hands and face. Wanting more from my body – more sensation than numbing – I turned to Reichian Therapy in Ojai, California. Each week waiting outside the treatment room, slight trembling throughout my body, I would enter into the unknown and exit changed through my awareness of what I had hidden from myself.
I always thought of myself as an emotional person; a guy who was not afraid of his feelings. Yet, what I did not know was how I hid in my sadness which masked so many parts of me. This work was done nude on the treatment table – exposing my body’s armor allowing my therapist to witness my physical energy of holding-on. For a long time I lay on the treatment table, pulling my heels to my hips, and breathing into my chest, I could not move past the sad little boy. Then, one day, falling into my body’s sensations of sadness, I moved through something in me, I began to writhe, kick and yell – I found a depth of rage that was immense. Several sessions went this way. I remember, during one of my kicking and thrashing moments, my therapist saying to me, “You have to find a way to use all of this drama.”
Then a shift. In all of my antics of kicks and punches I felt and heard a snap in my chest as if my sternum had broken in half. I lay spread out arms and legs spent, drenched in sweat, sobbing in a depth I had never felt. My therapist looking over me, directly into my eyes – both of us with tears streaming – she asked, “Who loves you?” I answered, “I don’t know.” She smiled saying, “I do.” For the very first time I felt what I had missed most of my life . . . an unconditional loving of myself and a sense of being loved by another. This was an emotional and sentient moment that I will never forget!
My body took me to the gateway of choice. And, I chose . . . to enter my body; to begin a journey of deconstruction and invention. I got a divorce and struggled to keep my place in my son’s life. I went into the darkest parts of me and found a way through to other aspects of the man I am becoming. The journey continues.
I embrace my body’s ability hold and release emotion; its wisdom of truth. My emotions keep me honest when my body gets distracted and my mind wants to change the subject. My emotions bring me to a sense of compassion for myself and everybody else. I love the part of my body that is my emotions for their presence make me human.