I Surrender: Healing Sexual Abuse Through Yoga Therapy


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I am always the one that springs tears when I have any kind of body work done. I know, I’m just a sensitive little thing and I’m fully aware of that, although it’s taken me some time to not shame myself so violently for being such. I believe that has been an integral part of the work – the surrender of letting myself feel so deeply – that has helped me to become the healer, energy worker, and facilitator that I have become thus far.

As all good practitioners know, you are always evolving, always learning. It shouldn’t have surprised me as I prepared for a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy session for a friend who is a student-in-training, that tears welled up for me just filling out the intake paperwork. Pretty darn good indicator for me that I was headed into water where something was gonna shift – and shift BIG. What exactly that was, I wasn’t quite sure of but I still had a day or so to sit on it and feel it out.

The day of, it dawned on me….during this week several years past were monumental times of change for me, sometimes physically, other times more spiritually. Last year during that time frame was when Bobby and I had our last visit that felt like the energy between us flowed and connected in a very positive and comforting fashion (for those unfamiliar with the back story, click here). It was also the time of year of my late father’s birthday, which in and of itself is significant, but also because that timeframe in 2012 was when Bobby and I reconnected after not having spoken to one another for nearly 6 ½ years since his move to California.

Upon arriving at the studio, I could tell the session would be an intense one simply because I felt so comfortable and at ease there. My friend, Karen, which I should note this was the first time we’d met in-person and was a total delight, was warm, caring, inviting, and genuine. All of these details set up the scene for a very intimate, very open, and very healing session. From the moment she walked me into a meditative space until we sat down crossed legged on the mat and a full hour later, tears flowed. I hadn’t let myself cry like that since the day that Bobby and I had parted ways.

When we had begun, I made it very clear to the angels and guides that were present that my intention was to heal my body. I was tired of hurting. I was tired of battling with my weight. I was tired of just not feeling 100% up to par. I wanted desperately whatever that trigger of resistance was to a creating and allowing for a healthy body to be identified and released. I had tried so many things throughout the years to be met with frustration and anger, the occasional success and then abruptly gaining the vast majority of the weight back and feeling my energy plummet, each and every time. It was depressing and defeating, to put it mildly.

As we started the session, Karen walked me through a basic meditation as we stood facing one another, eyes closed, to begin getting in touch with my body and really pulling myself in to be present and aware. She encouraged me to find a beginning position that felt comfortable and safe. Knowing very little yoga, my first instinct was to curl up into child’s pose. And I cried. I cried and cried and cried.

The visions that came up next were powerful and cut straight to the core. Directly mirroring one another, as if in a twisted sort of carnival horror house, was the images of myself as a child being sexually abused by a man that I dearly trusted at 4 years old and the other…was being in the very same vulnerable, albeit consented, position with Bobby in an almost identical space. An old, rickety, shaded, dusty garage when I was 4 years old versus a sawdust-covered, dark, picture-framing saw room in the basement of an old historic building at the age of 34. It was an energetically tender space of open, innocent vulnerability and unconditional trust being sabotaged and annihilated in an instant, completely naïve as to what the truth and the gravity of the situation truly was – in both situations.

The tears flowed non-stop. How could they not? And it was good. So, so good. Cathartic. Releasing the toxicity of both events that had been pent up for all this time and letting them pour out into the open air. Rather than sit and focus on the acute pain that I was being engulfed in in that moment; reliving the piercing sting of betrayal and innocence stolen, I asked my guides to help me to see why my body wasn’t cooperating in healing itself and what did this have anything to do with my weight issues? Why was it becoming more and more lethargic, gaining weight again after having dropped nearly 60lbs just 3 years prior, and why I never felt passionate enough about healthy eating and exercise like I did back then? The extra 30 pounds my body had acquired since then had been literally weighing on me, both physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Then, the epiphany hit. Why would I want to lose the weight? What purpose would that serve? Well, I would feel better energetically. I would look healthier. I would be able to keep up with my kids better. I would look better. My fatigue would likely dissipate. I would look better. I would be able to focus more clearly. I would appear slimmer.

I would look better. I would LOOK better. The hidden beast. My outside appearance. Holy hell.

That’s probably not supposed to be the most spiritually enlightened epiphany ever…but then again, how do we grow in our journey if we don’t look at the dark shadows of our existence as well as the bright, luminous parts? Isn’t that how we learn to shine brighter?

Back to the session…

So improving my physical body health in the past equated to more attention from people, specifically men, and most often times men in a certain position of power or what seemed like a position of power to me. It might possibly be best described as a man in a place of “authority”, whether it was an administrative hierarchy that I had bought into at the time or because they touted themselves as the “authority” in their given field. Every time I lost a considerable amount of weight, the rockin’ body that I have underneath all the layers of “protection” came shining through as did my sparkling, outgoing personality and people NOTICED. And every time I was noticed, I made shitty freakin’ choices, got caught up in the moment, indulged in guilty pleasures and created bonds that I had no business creating….then I ended up hurt. Cut to the core hurt. And devastated beyond measure…

Protection.

That’s what it boiled down to. Big, huge, personal, physical fucking walls. I was protecting my heart and my sprit because the majority of the significant men in my life had done nothing but use and abuse it. Granted, in most of the situations, I let it happen. I chose to walk into the situation and allowed myself to be open and vulnerable. That does not negate the fact that I had set up a very damaging and painful pattern in which there were times that I felt that I just couldn’t go on…because I had felt the reoccurrence of that initial pain as a 4 year old THAT deeply and intimately.

What I learned? I had allowed my deteriorating body image and consequent weight gain be my protection from painful emotional scars rather than consciously addressing them and healing from them. Yeah. Take that one for a ride, right? Not exactly lighthearted tea-time discussion.

The last segment of our session? As I was lying on my back, Karen lifted my legs together in the air, lifting my bottom off of the floor, and began gently swinging my hips back and forth from one side to the other. It felt scary and vulnerable and way too open for what I was feeling in the moment. But…it’s all part of the healing and triggering those necessary sensations within the body to elicit that response and allowing our inner knowing to tune into that guidance that we are given. Trust me, even as I type these words, I get a lump in my throat. And that…well, that’s where it’s most powerful. The precipice of choice.

Oh, and the visual that appeared to me?

A proudly flying white flag of surrender.

xoxo – Mel

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