OCTOBER 4, 2009
THE TALE #1
Am I Pregnant?
Yoga Teacher training was a little challenging for my 44 year old bones, but I stepped up to the plate and did remarkably well. The only problem that I experienced in my first couple of months was this strange lower back "burning." It wasn't a muscle pull or a spasm, it was like there was a lit cigarette trapped in muscles of my lower back right where my hip flexors connected to my lower spine. It attributed it to over training and I was fine with it.
But the truth of the matter is this...
I was pregnant with THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS.
It was my third month of Yoga Teacher Training. I was taking a class at BeYoga in Midtown Manhattan being taught by an extremely gifted Yoga teacher by the name of Douglass Stewart. I had taken his class a number of times before and I loved it. His teaching style personified Yoga. He was present, compassionate and at times, humorous. Little did I know at this time, that we would form a unique YOGA BOND in the years to come.
It was towards the end of the class, and we were doing a Yoga Asana called Maltese Twist. It is a chest opener and a hip opener. One lies on their side, with their knees to their chest and then the upper torso twists open. As I moved into the twist, I started to cry... but I had no idea what I was crying about. Tears were streaming from my eyes, I was breathing as if I was crying, yet the crying was disconnected somehow. It was as if someone else was crying, while I stood by watching. It was bizarre. Unsettling.
As I moved out of the stretch, my "crying" subsided. I talked with Douglass about it after class.
He said that sometimes in the process of your Yoga practice feelings will arise. I should just breathe, be with it and eventually the feelings will dissapate.
But that wasn't the case this time...
I was giving birth.
OCTOBER 7, 2009
THE TALE #2
The OPRAH Motivation!
When I was in the midst of "The People in my Hips," I made a commitment on one of my video journals that I would get on the Oprah Show and help people with similar issues. I then made this commitment again and again and again on a myriad of video journals for the next 3 years.
Follows is a video with some of these "Oprah Motivation" moments:
This video is kinda funny, but it is also sad and disturbing, but ultimately to me, my repeated video declarations over the years kept me present and focused on healing my condition, so I view this video and my repeated declarations as heroic.
I always wanted a Super Power. Determination is mine.
(This was a promo video for my play so please excuse the promo at the end of the video.)
If you know Oprah, please refer her to this website.
I am still determined.
OCTOBER 8, 2009
Opening Sequence -
What am I forgetting?
Here is the opening sequence from my play THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS. This is the real story.
(SOUND CUE: # THUNDER AND MORE)
(There are 5 “theatre blocks” on stage, 4 center stage with a small step unit in front and on block stage left. Stage right is a TV and a DVD player. On the back wall of the theatre is a HUGE PUPPET with my picture over the head on the puppet. The Picture is photoshopped so that I sort of look like Shiva, or Shiva sort of looks like me. Out in the audience area is a video camera which I can turn on and off with a remote control.)
(Lights up, I appear stage left referencing the giant puppet on the back wall of the theatre.)
Ken: This is Shiva, the Hindu God of Destruction, and subsequent rebirth. SHIVA represents darkness and is often called the 'angry god'. Shiva is tall, ominous and holds a nasty Trident. He has four arms and three eyes. Shiva opens this third eye, in the middle of his forehead only in anger, and the offender is often burnt to cinders.
(Move down stage)
Lord Shiva, the Master of yoga, unifies the physical, mental and spiritual energies to create wholeness. He is also the creator of Dance. His Dance of Anger, the Roudra Tandava is seen and heard across the universe, while his Dance of Joy, the Ananda Tandava is celebrated by few.
Known for his destructive rage, Lord Shiva the Destroyer can be one nasty motherfucker.
(Move to center block)
Hi, my name is Ken Wolf. I am a playwright, an actor, the artistic director of this little theatre here, a personal trainer and Yoga instructor, and this is the story of my 3 year dance marathon with Shiva the Destroyer.
This tale I am about to share with you is absolutely true. As a playwright, I write stories based on my life. I take crazy stories about my relationships, or crazy stories about my family and I put them up on stage, often just changing the names.
Now I don’t have many friends and my family hates me, but I do good work.
This play tonight is very different. This play is a crazy story about about battling the crazy in me, about literally striking back at demons from a childhood which I never knew existed. It’s about struggling in the MASH PIT of my mind for three years as I tried to keep my life together while I danced Shiva’s Dance of Anger with a past long forgotten.
When I was 10 years old, my father had a nervous breakdown and was admitted to ST Vincent’s Psychiatric Hospital in Harrison, NY where he received shock therapy. Now I don’t remember much about that time, but I do remember the ceramic ashtrays that he sent home from his arts and crafts class every couple of weeks. And I didn’t even smoke.
For most of my adult life, I feared that someday I would “lose it” and go crazy and be put away like Dad. This play tonight is a celebration of the fact that I will never ever live out my father’s crazy legacy. Through my People in my Hips process, the story I am about to tell you, I have rewritten my DNA. Thank God!
(Get off center block and move right to camera)
One of the things that kept me going during my crazy three year dance marathon with Shiva the Destroyer, was the commitment I made to one day tell this story as a play or a movie. When The People in my Hips first manifested, I immediately started a video diary where I filmed myself talking about the “crazy” stuff happening in my life. I also filmed psychotherapy, bodywork and Yoga sessions. Documenting my process with video was one of the ways I survived. Knowing that I would bear witness and someday tell this story, and hopefully help lots of people with similar problems was how I made it through. It’s one of the reasons why I am standing here today. So tonight, you will be seeing real video of my experience from 3,4, and 5 years ago, mixed with candid narration, and scenes acted out that I was unable to film. As you can see, I am filming this performance and all my performances as a tribute to my process.
(Back to center block)
When I finally committed to presenting this play, I promised myself that I wouldn’t bring The People in my Hips back in the process of telling this tale, so there may be times during this presentation that I may take a spontaneous break or while watching a video that I may leave the theatre, or sit in the audience with you or do some Yoga or quietly weep. I ask for your indulgence on this.
Two years ago, I healed myself of The People in my Hips. I had finally lived out and completed the story, and I had a theatre in which to present the story, yet I procrastinated on putting this show together until now because I was scared - and I am not talking STAGE FRIGHT. When you have danced with Mr. Ugly here being on stage is a cakewalk. Basically, I was scared that The People in my Hips might return, and also scared that after sharing this material you all might think me mad, an extension of the craziness of my father. So I put off presenting this show telling myself I was too busy with this theatre to do theatre.
And then one day last summer, while I was working here running a festival show, something happened which made me realize that I had to do this show and do it right away.
(Cross left to Journal on theatre block)
I was putzing around my office cleaning up when I discovered a Diary from 2005 that I had kept about The People in my Hips. I mostly did video diaries but this was about 30 pages of a written journal. This is what I read:
JULY 30, 2005
I decided to relax my hip in therapy today, let it go and follow it to see what we could discover.
Immediately I started to bounce and shake and then my right hand started hitting my right leg repeatedly. Why was I hitting myself?
I went further into the memory. Something bad was happening. Something bad. I am being held down.
Who was it? Who was it? .....
It was Dark Man. I can’t tell anyone.
He said he would kill me if I told.
I HAD TO KEEP IT A SECRET - WAY DOWN IN MY HIPS!
I had to keep it a secret from EVERYONE.
Even myself… or I would die!
MY body is telling me the truth, showing me physically so that I will believe it…for I destroyed the memory years ago to survive.
WHAT BETTER WAY TO KEEP A SECRET? MAKE YOURSELF FORGET!
I set the journal down.
I was stunned for I had absolutely no recollection of this event,
this therapy session,
or of ever having written this journal.
(SOUND CUE # - THUNDER)
And therein hangs a tale…
OCTOBER 11, 2009
THE TALE #3
What is "BOUNCING" Yoga?
Now I am sure a lot of you are wondering about the “BOUNCING” Yoga.
Here is a video from 5 years ago when I was in the middle of my PEOPLE IN MY HIPS adventure.
My hip flexors had cramped up and I was in the process of trying to release them. On this video, I am talking through the experience documenting what happens in real time. At about 3 minutes and 20 seconds, the real crazy “bouncing” begins. Don’t miss it. Even today, as I watch it, I find it quite amazing.
Often in life, when the going gets tough, people give up.
I thank God I was blessed with often ridiculous determination and the curiosity of at least 10 cats.
If you are stumped, up against a wall, confused, lost...
And never give up.
OCTOBER 12, 2009
THE TALE #4
My Body Talks...
I didn’t let my rather bizarre “crying experience” in class with Douglass keep me from my yoga teacher certification. I continued to train passionately in Yoga…. and, I continued to cry.
Now hold it a second!
Isn’t Yoga supposed to calm you down? Help you relax?
My experience with Yoga soon evolved into the exact opposite.
It seemed like in every class I took, at some point in time, I would break into disconnected tears. My body would sob as I simply witnessed.
I soon began to notice a pattern. The biggest “cries” would occur when I was stretching my hip flexors. The Hip flexors start on your upper leg and connect through your pelvis to your lower spine. It was almost as if my hip flexors were a direct line to my unconscious.
As many of you know, in the Yogic tradition, they say that there are 7 Chakras or ENERGY WHEELS in the body. The seven chakra are aligned more or less along our spinal cord. When I first started to experience my disassociated sobbing, I researched the chakras to see if I could learn something that might help. My hips flexors literally passed thru the second chakra SVADISTHANA.
This is what I discovered.
SVADISTHANA is related to our sensing abilities, inner child issues and issues related to feelings.
INNER CHILD ISSUES?
Now to be honest , I am not one of these crazed Yoga disciples who automatically believe everything that they read and are taught. Probably, because of my background in Personal Training, during my Yoga training I questioned everything until I could experience validity or a reality to it. At this point in my story, I had been a personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 20 years. My “body” belief system was this: The body consists of muscles and bones, organs, blood and nerves.
If there are Chakras, ... show me one!!
It was May 2003, a Wednesday night. I was taking Yoga class taught again by Douglass Stewart. We were coming to the hip opening section of the class, and I SO DIDN’T WANT TO CRY because I had been crying for MONTHS, but I decided that if I did begin to cry, I wouldn’t resist it, I would go into it, ask questions, try to learn more.
As I breathed into the hip opener, (ankle to knee asana) I started to shake a little, and then in a tidal wave of disassociated angst, the sobbing began. My head started to shake softly side to side as tears sprang from my eyes.
“What is all this about?” I asked my body. “Did someone do something to you? What happened? Did someone do something to you? Who did this?”
And then, (I tremble as I write this,) I HEARD a little voice from deep inside my body:
“It was Grampa. Grampa Wolf. He did it. He did it.”
I pulled out of the posture, stunned. I quickly lay down on my back on my mat, and quietly wept, hoping that no one in the class would see me.
“It was Grampa. Grampa Wolf. He did it. He did it.”
My Grandfather came to America from Germany in the 1940’s. He lived with my Grandmother Katrina and his son Henry (my father), in Astoria Queens. To my knowledge, he worked as a waiter at the Glen Isle Casino and other places in the Metropolitan area. He was an alchoholic. He died of a stroke when I was 4 years old.
I have only one memory of him. He wore Dentures.
He would take them out of his mouth and chase me and my older brother Mike around the house saying that he was going to bite us.
After my grandmother passed away in 1989, my siblings and I went to her apartment in Astoria to go through her stuff, take the things that we wanted and give away the rest.
I took nothing, except for…
Grampa’s dentures. Gramma had kept them for over 26 years.
Why I took them, I have no idea.
“Grampa, what did you do?
What the fuck did you do?”
OCTOBER 13, 2009
That little voice...
In each of us is a little voice that knows.
It cuts through denial, excuses, rose-colored glasses, and rationalizations.
When we listen to this little voice that knows, we find solutions to life's most perplexing problems and predicaments.
When I was truly lost, not knowing what the hell was going on with me and my body. When I had unexplained feelings, unexpected muscle cramps and bizarre physical manifestations of my abusive past, manifesting in the present moment - while all this insanity was right here staring at me, leering at me in the face, I would go inside and listen. I would listen to that voice inside that knew I would be ok, the voice inside that would lead me to a solution, a resolution, a denouement.
Just about at the end of my play I spoke these lines:
“There is a sense of peace, a sense of calm in me now, knowing that no matter what happens to me in life, there is a still strong voice inside me,
call it my soul,
call it my true self,
or call it God,
but no matter what you call it, I know now this voice will always be there to guide me, take care of me, and carry me through any and all adversity.”
Discovering this still strong voice inside me was the gift of The People in my Hips.
OCTOBER 14, 2009
THE TALE #5
The Yoga of Remembering...
I was considerably shaken by the “child voice” I heard in Yoga class that day. It was just so bizarre. I needed to know what was going on in me. And what the hell happened in my past? Did my Grandfather do something to me? Or was that “child voice” just just a figment of an overly emotional imagination?
I talked with Douglass after the class and made arrangements to train with him privately to get to the bottom of this mystery inside of me. The next day, we met at my apartment which I shared with my girlfriend on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. When Douglass arrived, we sat crosslegged on our Yoga mats in my living room and I told him my tale of dissassociated woe. There was something so peaceful and safe about his demeanor. He listened compassionately until I was all talked out, and then we began our YOGA.
We started with an Arching Cat Asana and I immediately started to cry, again totally dissasociated from any connection with the emotion. Douglass quietly watched. I pushed up into Downward Dog and my body started to shake so Douglass gently rolled me on my side for a supported Maltese Twist, and that is when I started… to remember! Maybe it was Douglass’s gentle touch or the safety of being in my home, but for the first time my sobbing emotions were connected - AND THEY WERE CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING!
I was 5, I felt/saw my Father kicking me as I lay on the kitchen floor - I was 4 almost drowning in the Long Island Sound at Playland in 1962 - I was 13 being beat up by Roger Fenton in Mill Pond Park - I was 1, someone was holding me by the neck as an infant and smashing my head into the floor again and again and again! And as Douglass gently moved me into various supported Yoga stretches a universe of memories unfolded like a motion picture manifesting through my body, shaking me, moving me, - some images/feelings were from my conscious memory, other images/feelings were brand new as if they didn’t belong to me or to my past.
And as I stretched with the gentle assist of Douglas, I could feel the utter fear of waiting to be belted in the bathroom by my father, the sad melancholy of having to go into 6th grade knowing that my parent’s were divorced making me a subhuman child, and the paralizing new memory at four years of age, hiding from my rageful father in a closet in a garment bag fearing that he would kill my mother, my brothers and sisters and then me. And I cried, and I shook and I shook and I cried and with Douglass’s gentle assist I did Yoga.…Yoga unlike any Yoga I had ever experienced before.
We eventually stopped. I lay there a blathering amoeba of emotion splattered on my living room floor.
And Douglass sat quietly watching.
It had been so real… yet so unreal.
And as I lie there as human emotional protoplasm, I knew that the worst was yet to come…
OCTOBER 15, 2009
THE TALE #6
SHAKING YOGA with Douglass
The saving grace throughout my People in my Hips adventure was Douglass.
While I was:
challenging suicidal thoughts,
channeling in a bizarre child part of me who lived in my left hip,
going to doctors,
making video journals,
getting super heroes to help me,
interviewing my mother on tape to discover the mysteries of my childhood,
dealing with “The Dark Man” in my right hip
and hiding all this craziness from my friends and family,
(more on all of this in the weeks to come)
Douglass was there. Present, compassionate and strong.
We would meet at least once a week, and he would quietly watch me bounce and cry during yoga, and, like two YOGA scientists, we would experiment and explore different positions and Asanas in a quest to release the crazy unknown energy in my body. Sometimes when I was all locked up and in the thick of it my unknown physical malady, Douglass would simply manipulate my body into different stretches as I wept. And it was incredibly healing, maybe not on the physical plane, but in my emotional world, I was being divinely cared for by a man. I was savagely beaten by my father, but in Yoga with Douglass I felt safe, and in that safety sparked the beginning of my greatest healing, the ability to feel safe with and cared for by a man.
Here is a video of some of our amazing Yoga adventures together.
I found this quote in a book of therapy short stories, and I think it applies here.
“In therapy, it’s not what you do with a client , it is how you are.
It’s the relationship that heals, the relationship.”
Thank you, Douglass.
OCTOBER 17, 2009
THE TALE #7
More Emotion than Yoga...
Douglass and I met again the following week. I had been to Yoga class 4 times inbetween our last session and in each class emotion arose in my body/consciousness but not as intensely as in the privacy of my apartment. I was scared out of my mind as to what might manifest that day!
We began our Yoga and the emotional Roller Coaster resumed again. I immediately started to shake as we began with simple Sun Breaths. Douglass then took me down on to the floor for various assisted Yoga stretches and I immediately started to cry and almost hyperventilate still not knowing what it was all connected to.
And then the BODY MOVIE began again like a flip book of hundreds of emotional moments from, not just my childhood, but from my entire life:
Breaking up with my girlfriend Janet in 8th grade, fist fighting with my brother Mike at 10 years of age, being pulled from underneath my bed and then being beaten by my father at age 8, falling down and spraining my knee at 18 and on and on and on.
I was fascinated and scared, amazed and so confused.
Somehow through Yoga I had opened a Pandora's box of emotion somehow being released from my body. I shook and cried, hyperventilated and wailed.
What the hell was going on in me?
And then, I WAS my father,
pleading with my mother seeking-needing her approval, and then I WAS my sister Cathy - something had happened to her, I/she was so sad, so so sad. Then I was hiding with her at maybe 7 years of age. My parents were fighting in the kitchen, yelling, screaming - we had to protect ourselves! Keep the door closed! Keep the door closed!
Again, it was all so vivid and confusing, scarey, violent and sad. An emotional collage of terror, love lost and physical violence. What the hell was happening? Why was I being shown all this? Yes, some of it was from my conscious memory but some memories were mysteries unfolding before me, so new, so alive and so so frightening!
I WAS my mother terrified running my five children into the Rambler station wagon to escape from the crazy man - my father. And I was me at 8, with a 102 fever in the back seat crying screaming for my life "Where are we going? Where are we going?"
I am bouncing, shaking, wailing.
"Please stop! Please stop oh GOD PLEASE STOP!!!"
Douglass is gently pulling on my legs and moving them gently side to side releasing my hips. Our session is ending.
As I lay there, dizzy from the flash flood of emotion in my body, I can feel something...
a presence in my left hip,
a tightness, a piece of...
a piece of...
somehow wanting-needing to be heard, needing to be expressed,
to be set free...
...trapped in my left hip.
"Oh God, please help me. Please help me."
Douglass left. I needed some caffeine. Boy, did I need caffeine, and even more so...
I needed CAKE! Chocolate cake if possible.
As I was walking down 88th St on my way to Starbucks to feed my craving, I ran into my girlfriend, whom l lived with, who was coming home from work.
"How'd it go with Douglass?" she said with a smile.
"It was unbelievable." I replied as I felt a cold tremor in my left hip.
Yes, it was fear.
Sunday night late or on Monday, I will be posting a Video Journal from about 4 months after the above account.
I have been debating releasing this video for it shows me at a point where the emotional energy in my body is literally taking over my life. To me, it is frightening footage, and stunning, at the same time.
Now the last thing I want is A TRILLION HITS on YOUTUBE and a guest appearance on TV's EXTRA as "YOUTUBE FREAK VIDEO OF THE WEEK." I'm not posting this video for shock value. I will be posting it for EDUCATIONAL value, for your greater understanding of the severity of this type of problem.
I am writing this here now, so that I don't cop out and post some motivation drivel about my benefits as a result of dealing with The People in the Hips. I am sure you will see more than enough of that in the months to come.
If for any reason, I don't post the "Frightening and Stunning" Video Journal of what looks like the beginning of a total mental breakdown, please write, bang on my door and remind me to walk my talk.
I will see you at my worst in a little bit. Thanks for reading/watching.
OCTOBER 18, 2009
THE TALE #8
Here is a video journal that takes place about 4 months after the last "THE TALE" entry. I will fill you in as to what happened during those four months in the weeks to come.
On this video, you will see the manifestation of The PTSD or The Yoga Energy (Kundalini) or the Psychotic Break or whatever you would like to call it so that you can make sense out of this.
This is not fun, ...but it is interesting.
Frankly, as I mentioned yesterday, I am a bit scared to post this. Revealing how I was, revealing my "secret"condition on the internet might frighten some people I know, and they may head for the hills out of my life...
But the truth of the matter is this:
I have healed from this affliction and this information that this type of thing happens needs to get out into the general public. Years ago, when I was in the whirlwind of all this. I made a commitment to cure myself and then help others with similar issues, and that commitment kept me from despair, from checking into a mental hospital, and from medicating myself with drugs or alcohol. And ultimately, it was responsible for my healing.
How can I not share my story and what I have learned - "unattractive" video and all?
How many people do you think are experiencing somatic symptoms similar to these, and are AFRAID to talk about it?
How many people do you think are experiencing something like this and think that they are going NUTS? When what they are experiencing might simply be a somatic reaction to trauma being trapped and/or being released in their bodies.
How many people are just plain SCARED by the strange emotions coming out of their bodies, which are then named "Depression,""PTSD" "Generalized Anxiety" or "Mental Illness"?
As a culture, we do this weird thing. We NAME everything. We put a label on things so that we can deal better, understand things more fully and put everything into a sweet little box so that all is ok...
SO THAT WE KNOW...
But often these sweet little boxes hide the real issues deep inside, blinding us to simple truths, keeping us in one perspective, one dimension, one idea.
This experience offered me some new perspectives and possibilities.
Let me know what YOU think.
Feel free to comment below.
Please know that I bleeped some of the language in this video to keep it "YouTube acceptable."
OCTOBER 20, 2009
Distorted Reality, Anyone?
This is a really important distinction for individuals who suffer from depression or anxiety.
And it is also important for individuals who are simply... alive.
My belief is that at least 80% (If not more) of depression and anxiety stems from old emotions coming out of our bodies which we then “assign” to our reality or “label”.
Let’s say that we are feeling “depressed” Since we are unaware that this feeling is old and is coming out of our bodies, to make sense out of it all, we will “assign” this feeling to:
Our financial situation: My job/my income depresses me.
Our primary relationship situation: My boyfriend/girlfriend makes me feel sad. Or being in a relationship makes me feel sad. I need (freedom/more love/greater intimacy Etc. Etc.)
Our parents: My mother makes me feel depressed. They brought me up so I would feel this way.
Our health/body: This extra 15 lbs depresses me. If only I was taller.
And on and on.
And if we can’t assign these feelings coming from our bodies to something out there, we will then “label” them.
I have “Anxiety Attacks.”
I have a “Depression” problem.
I have “Anger Management Issues.”
I have “People in my Hips!”
And then, once labeled, we believe in them, and often go about making them real.
I had a unique opportunity when “The People in my Hips” emerged. Yes, I most definitely labeled my condition which didn’t help much, but because these “emotions” arose during Yoga, I knew that these feelings were not “present-based”. I knew they were from the past. Therefore, when “Suicidal Feelings” arose. I would “witness” them and then say to myself:
“Wow, look at that! Suicidal Feelings! This is definitely not “present-based”. Why would I want to do that?”
And I would not “assign” them to my present day reality.
I was able to listen to my soul. Who I really am, versus, believing old emotions and old thoughts. I was able to ZOOM out from these old feelings (most of the time) and watch as the old emotions arose out of my body and my hips. My commitment to tell this tale was instrumental in this process. It made me “self-aware” which ultimately saved me from being a victim of very old and very nasty feelings.
I think we do this all the time in life. Events trigger dramatic emotions in us, or old dramatic feelings are just processing out, and we then create a REALITY around these emotions to justify them, or we label them as an “affliction,” a “condition” or “mental illness.”
And by doing this, sometimes we create a entire belief system based on “OLD STUFF,” not one based on what is really here and now.
Our glasses not only become rose colored, they become distorted, and as the old adage goes “Seeing is believing!”
So we believe in a “Distorted Reality” and it becomes real…
I invite you to try “zooming” out when emotions arise.
Listen to that still, strong voice inside.
Be here now.
Challenge your dramatic emotions.
Listen to your soul.
OCTOBER 21, 2009
I got this from YOGA?
Here is a video which was originally going to be in my play THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS but I cut it so as to make the show more "stream-lined" ("Stream-lined" is a theatre term which means SHORTER.)
This clip was supposed to be the opening sequence in THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS movie which I hoped to make once I was cured.
(I still hope to.)
I filmed this in July 2006 while I was still dealing with my "condition which evolved out of Yoga." I am acting in this film, but you can get a sense of what I had to deal with on a BAD DAY.
And I tried to make it funny.
I don't know if it is funny, but I tried.
OCTOBER 22, 2009
THE TALE #9
I awoke with a start. My right hip flexor was locked up. I was in agonizing pain.
It was 2 weeks after I started my one on one Yoga work with Douglass.
“Ahhhhhhhhh!!” again I moaned as I tried to move.
“What is it? Are you Ok?” my girlfriend stammered also waking from a deep sleep.
“Yeah,…I’m fine. It’s just a cramp. I will be fine.”
I crawled out of our bed and crawled on the floor out of the bedroom into the living room.
“You’re not Ok!” she called after me.
“Yeah, I’m fine. It is just a cramp.” I whispered back from the living room floor as I lay on my back pulling my right knee to my chest. Tears were coming from my eyes. My head was shaking side to side. There was no connection to the emotion. It was my STUFF attacking me in my sleep. Why was it doing this? What the hell was going on?
It was 3:30 a.m. I was due to get up at 5 a.m. for I had a 6 a.m. client in Westchester. How the hell was I going to work this cramp out and get to work on time? I pulled both knees into my chest and rolled my bent legs in my hip sockets.
“AHHHHHHHHH SHIT!” My lower back cramped again. My head now was rocking back and forth as if my body was saying NO.
AS IF MY BODY WAS SAYING NO?
I was hyperventilating and again the tears were falling. I crawled into the bathroom, still in great pain, my body shaking. I turned on the tub.
“Are you OK?” from the bedroom.
“Yes, I’m fine. I’m fine. It is just a cramp. I will be fine.”
I crawled into the bathtub, then laying on my side in 6 inches of hot water I bent my knees and reached back and grabbed my ankles (like doing the YOGA Bow Asana only on my side) and I lay there crying, the shaking from my head almost splashing the water out of the tub.
I stayed in the tub for almost an hour, rolling and shaking. It started to release.
I pulled myself out, managed to dry myself off, and then, back in my underwear I crawled back out to the living room where I continued to stretch. I needed to be out of there in less than 30 minutes.
My girlfriend, probably hearing the sound of my head shaking side to side on the floor, got out of bed and joined me in the living room.
“Are you OK?”
“Yeah, just a cramp. Ummm, could you just put your foot on my pelvis here?
“Can you just help me stretch this out? Just put your foot on the left side of my pelvis here.”
“Are you Ok?”
“Yeah, just put your foot here.” (Pointing toward the top left part of my pelvis.)
She placed her foot on the left top part of my pelvis as I held my right knee to my chest.
“Now push down, hard. Step on me.”
“Are you Ok?” I could see the love and great concern in her eyes.
“Yes, I’m fine. This will help. Please.”
She pressed down with her foot. I held my neck tightly so that it wouldn’t shake. My head quivered slightly. I could feel a burning sensation through my lower back.
“Are you Ok?”
“Yeah, Yeah, that’s good, that really helps. Now can you do the other side?”
Needless to say, I was able to get to work on time and function, still in some pain, but I hid it well.
But I didn’t hide it well enough from my girlfriend.
She was scared.
OCTOBER 23, 2009
THE TALE #10
THE MATTRESS DID IT!
My second 200 hour round of Yoga Teacher Training went on hiatus for the Summer. We still had to get in our quota of classes but I didn’t have to attend any seminars or workshops with the group until September. There was something wrong in me. I needed to figure this one out. The last couple of weeks I had been distracted at our meetings, uncomfortable. I wasn’t ready to share what was happening to me. I was the only man in our training. And probably the only Yogi with people in his hips.
My hips continued to lock up almost every night, sometimes worse than other nights. I told my girlfriend that it was probably the new mattress that we had been sleeping on since we moved in together. I said it was too soft. Part of me knew that the mattress wasn’t the culprit, but part of me hoped and prayed that it was.
Please let it be the mattress.
Please let it be the mattress.
Please let it be the mattress.
I went out and got a bed - sized piece of plywood and placed it under our mattress.
AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I awoke that night my hips in a spasm.
We placed a mattress pad over the mattress that would make it firmer.
AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I awoke folded up like a pretzel in pain.
It wasn’t the mattress. It was in me.
But how could I share this with my girlfriend?
“I’m sorry, there is stuff in me that makes it virtually impossible for me to sleep next to you.”
Wow, that’s one way to nurture a relationship.
Yet pretending that this hip issue wasn’t an issue wouldn’t nurture a relationship either.
But I pretended anyway… how could I explain this? I am channeling in all known and unknown abusive events in my life during Yoga and then at night, when I dream, this stuff is somehow getting into my muscles and crippling me.
Also, I am starting to feel paranoid especially when a MAN is standing behind me on line, or sitting behind me on a train and I am feeling very uncomfortable in general around older men.
Damn, this does not look good. What is going on? What the hell have I forgotten?
What happened to me as a child?
What secret horrific events are still somehow trapped in my body?
And how can I share all this with the woman I love? Could she ever understand if I don’t even understand it?
So I dived into denial and it became all about the mattress.
I became obsessionally obsessive about the board, the pad, the position I slept and on and on, so needless to say, going to bed with my amazing girlfriend, soon became no fun. Plus the thought of “getting involved” with her and then having my head start shaking side to side like a jackhammer was so unsexy.
God bless her. She is such an amazing woman. She was so supportive trying to understand and solve this “Mattress” problem, but when I looked into her eyes, all I could see was the fear underneath. She knew something was wrong. Terribly wrong.
And I was too frightened to share the truth…
…the truth that I was coming undone.
OCTOBER 26, 2009
THE TALE# 11
HIPS DON'T LIE
The days that followed are some of the oddest days of my life. Normally, when one experiences emotion, there is a thought, or an image, or someone says something that triggers an emotional response. For me, I simply felt emotions now emulating from my hips, almost as if my hips were another person, or if they were talking to me, or if they weren't even connected to my body. I felt random emotions manifesting out of what seemed like nothing all. Random, totally messed up emotions channeling out of my hips.
As I taught class, I could feel "sad melancholy" emulating from my hips. As I drove home, I could feel the "tears of a sad little lost boy." Sometimes my hips would actually burn in the front, right and left as if someone was tearing their fingernails into my pelvis. And my hip crease, where the pelvis connects with the upper leg was almost always in a spasm. When I went to release it, stretch it, I would cry, shake and bounce.
I was so scared.
Meanwhile, my home life was falling apart. There was this unknown energy or entity somehow trapped between my girlfriend and I which I had named THE MATTRESS, or MY TIGHT HIP. I couldn't talk about the emotional aspect, it made no sense, and if I went there, to my girlfriend it would looked like I was going mad.
In my soul, I knew I wasn't going nuts. There was no doubt. I knew it wasn't my mind. But there was some crazy energy/entity/memory in me demanding to be released and my BODY couldn't hold it in.
Was this a nervous breakdown?
When I was 10, my father suffered from what I was told was a "nervous breakdown" and was admitted into St. Vincent's Psychiatric Hospital in Harrison where he was given shock therapy and stayed for a number of months. For most of my life, I feared that someday, I too would lose it, go crazy and be sent away. Was this that moment? My self-fulfilling prophecy manifesting out of YOGA catapulting me into the fucked up footsteps of my crazy father?
Before we go any further, I just want to give you a little backstory about my father so you can better understand this tale. My memories of Dad are two-fold and that was the problem. When I was young, he was a tyrant, angry and unavailable. At this time, in my story here, I didn’t remember much of the angry time with him but I did remember him as alway being mad. After St. Vincents and his shock therapy, he and my mother divorced, and something happened in him. He saw the abusive person that he had become, and he vowed to change and to dedicate himself to truly loving his 5 children to make amends for his abusive behavior. He went back to the Church. He studied scripture, and he did everything in his power to bring joy into our lives.
We became his Raison D’etre, his reason to live.
And he became the father, I always dreamed of.
He died in 1989 of a heart attack.
Yes, I remembered and understood then that he beat me.
But was there more?
NO! NO! NO! NO! I LOVE YOU, DADDY!
So now there was this mystery in me. Somewhere, sometime in my past, crazy things happened to me. I had no real conscious memories of these events, but my hips were somehow trying to communicate with me.
What? MY HIPS WERE TRYING TO COMMUNICATE WITH ME?
Yes, or the emotion in the hips, or the energy trapped in my hips, or the entity in my hips, whatever you would like to call it.
A whole new past was unfolding before me. What the hell happened to me as a child? And what the heck is happening in my body?
And deep down inside, I knew what was coming out of my hips was real. Coming out, maybe not in a proper order, or the proper cognitive packaging, but it was coming out. And it was real - the CREEPY MONSTERS and The DARK MEN that I made myself FORGET in order to survive...
oh please, no...
OCTOBER 27, 2009
Don't Believe your Feelings!
When I was in the midst of my "EMOTIONAL BURP", where crazy feelings were simply manifesting/channeling out from my body, I had the distinct advantage of "Knowing" that these old emotions were simply coming from my body, and from my past. Therefore, for the most part, I was able to simply watch them, notice them, witness them. It didn't change the bizarre manifestations in my body, but it did keep the me inside centered and aware.
Since the "Emotional Burp" of The People in my Hips, I have come to believe that most strong emotions are manifestations coming out of our bodies, and/or out of our past triggered by events in the present moment.
Now when a present day event triggers a strong emotion, I usually stop and say to myself:
"Wow, what is this? What emotional event from my past is similar to this emotion?"
Just recently, my girlfriend and I, became the proud parents of a beautiful half-Maltese/half-Yorkie Puppy named Roma.
In "Mutt Breed" language, you would call her a MORKIE.
She is the doll of our life, just adorable, cute, loving and she has totally changed our experience of our life with her exuberance and affection.
I recently noticed that when I would walk with her outside on the streets of NYC, I would get incredibly nervous, incredibly neurotic and fearful that something would happen to her. I envisioned cars hitting her, her getting loose from her leash and hurting herself and on and on.
Now there are thousands of dogs being walked everyday in New York City that never get hurt, so obviously this had nothing to do with the present moment so I asked the question:
"What is this? What emotional event from my past is similar to this emotion?"
I didn't get it right away, but a day later while in the bathtub, it hit me.
When I was about 8, I was late for the school bus. As I was running down to the bus, I saw my cat crossing the road, just as the bus was turning the corner. I screamed. No one could hear me... and I watched as my cat was struck by my school bus. I ran to my cat crying.
She was dead.
...And then the bus driver told me to hurry up and get on the bus.
I screamed, " Get out of here! You killed her! Leave! Get the hell out of here!"
As as the bus, drove away, I sat by the curb weeping with my dead cat in my arms.
So obviously this emotional event was triggered, pulled from my past when walking Roma down the traffic - filled streets of Manhattan. Noticing this connection, realizing that my emotion was not based in reality but in the past, I have been able to actually enjoy walking Roma. Granted, I am still cautious, because I love Little Miss Roma, but I am not NEUROTIC or fearful. I am present.
Present. Here and now. Loving my beautiful little puppy.
Life couldn't be more perfect.
October 27, 2009
THE TALE #12
NOT TELLING THE TRUTH!
As I was “coming undone,” I got really good at pretending that everything was Ok. Some days while teaching my core class when I was in the “hip cramp” mode, I would simply NOT DEMONSTRATE, because if I demonstrated on the floor I knew I would not be able to get back up to standing, or I would start to channel in bizarro feelings which would not be good for my fitness business. With my girlfriend, I would simply say my hip was tight and reference something inane about getting a new mattress.
There is this strange thing about NOT TELLING THE TRUTH, (which isn’t necessarily lying but just as bad.)NOT TELLING THE TRUTH creates walls. First the walls are small and transparent, but as one continues toNOT TELL THE TRUTH the walls soon become big and solid and unbreakable. NOT TELLING THE TRUTHdoes not foster intimacy in any way. It fosters Pretend. Denial. Ultimately, it fosters Emptiness. NOT TELLING THE TRUTH is lonely, selfish, but sometimes temporarily SAFE.
I needed that safety to figure things out. To fix myself. To somehow make things better before it all fell apart…
WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?
My condition, whatever it was, whatever was coming out of me was ultimately a manifestation of my bodyNOT TELLING THE TRUTH of what really happened to me as a child. As I trained in Yoga, I inadvertently opened a floodgate of truth which was so outside of my belief system as to what I thought was true. It made no sense. It was crazy. I needed to push it away. Keep it away.
This is not me. This is not who I am. This is not true. This in not really happening. It is the mattress. My relationship. My hip. My Yoga Training.
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE. I AM A VICTIM!
A victim. Maybe. Maybe in ways I could only imagine in my worst nightmares.
Whatever this energy was I would not let it WIN!
I would fight back, fight back, fight back!
Can you see the really scary Global Metaphor here?
So I started “going to the mat” doing Yoga as often as I could to work this stuff out, - which ultimately helped bring it on. The feelings emanating from my hips became stronger. Sometimes I would just get nauseous. Other times, I would feel anxious and then fight with my girlfriend placing, assigning the feelings to her:
SHE IS DOING THIS TO ME!
Other times, I would pull back, eat pizza, cake, stuff it all down, get quiet, not talk, wander through bookstores aimlessly, often avoiding coming home until as late as possible and sometimes making up lame excuses and just staying up in my cabin in Westchester and not even coming home to New York City to sleep with the love of my life.
Everything was wrong. I was scared, determined, lost and relentless. I knew and I didn’t know.
Oh God, please help me!
No, I can do it. I can handle it alone. I will not be beaten up again.
Oh please help me, Dad, Mom, Bro Mike, God, Food, Bookstores, Denial! Please anyone, anything please….
But no, ….not you…no, no, no, not you!
It was September now.
My girlfriend and I broke up. We had a couple conversations where I expressed we were just not right for each other (NOT TELLING THE TRUTH) and that we would be happier uncoupled (NOT TELLING THE TRUTH!)
I moved out. She changed the locks. I moved full-time into my cabin in Northern Westchester and life went on.
I was alone up in the woods, alone in my cabin,
safe, and scared...
Like a festering boil, it was all coming to a head…
…and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
October 29, 2009
THE TALE #13
3 months earlier - June 2003
I am cramped up. I can barely walk. Douglass just arrived at my apartment for our Yoga session. He is rolling out the mats on the living room floor.
“I don’t know how much I can do. I cramped up today after Spin class - my hip flexor is locked again. Oh Douglass, this sucks” I sighed seeking his sympathy.
“So let’s do something different. “ He said with a wink. “ I think we have done enough bouncing lately.”
“Absolutely! So what do you want to do?” I was nervous.
“Why don’t we sit and breathe and I will take you on a guided meditation through your Chakras?”
“Sure. Why not.” I replied smiling but I was so damn scared. Whenever Douglass and I worked together, my practice became a direct live wire to my unconscious and... Fireworks!
Little did I know at the time, that that session would be
A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION!
We sat cross-legged on our mats facing each other. Arms out, back of our wrists to our knees, palms open, my thumbs and my first fingers were touching in Jnana Mudrā.
Douglass began his guided meditation starting with the base chakra MULADHARA, bringing my awareness to the area down below the base of my spine.
My breath shortened.
“Breathe, Ken, breathe.”
I suddenly felt dizzy. Douglass continue inviting me to bring my awareness/explore my experience of this area. I started to hyperventilate. Douglass asked me to bring white light into this area, peace, calm, healing white light. My breath shortened even more. My body started to slightly hop up and forward while I sat there cross-legged. Douglass then invited me to bring that white light into my second Chakra SVADISTHANA, and I immediately started to involuntarily shake forward and back.
“Are you alright, Ken?”
"Yes, Yes, I’m fine. Let’s go. Keep going.”
My body started to shake harder forward and back, back and forth, I could feel pain, sharp pain at the very base of my spine by my genitals.
“Keep going Douglass, I am fine.”
I started to bounce harder and harder. Suddenly, I could see Resurrection Church where I was an altar boy, or was I, was that just the Kindergarten pageant where I was the altar boy? Why is that priest telling me to come and serve mass? Fuck this is like a bad Access Hollywood segment? A Priest? That’s been done! What the hell is really real here?
Douglass then led me to the third Chakra MANIPURA, stomach, fire, energy center, and then there came a cry… a cry, a howl… a howl from the darkest depth of hell, a child’s cry, a child at the age of six or sevenhowling, HOWLING for his life, Oh God, not again! No more please no more!
“Ken, are you alright?”
“Yes, keep going."
I need to know, I need to know. I need to know. I need to know.
And so Douglass led me through the remaining Chakras:
ANAHATTA, the Heart Chakra -
NO DON’T PLEASE STOP! PAIN. PAIN. PAIN.
Don’t leave me!
Let me go away!
“Keep going, Douglass.”
VISHUDDHA, the Throat Chakra -
SUDDENLY I was drowning. I can’t breathe. I can taste the salt water in me, in my lungs, I was gasping I am gasping for my life. I heard/hear a cry. It was me, Younger, lost, crying, Am I going to die? Help me. Help me.
“Keep going Douglass!"
AJNA, the Third Eye Chakra -
Centered above my brow. Intuition.
All was black. I am panting.
In the Dark. I am in the closet.
NO, don’t do it. No, please! No, don’t!
SAHASRARA, the Crown Chakra -
WHERE IS THE WHITE LIGHT? WHERE IS THE FUCKING WHITE LIGHT? THE GOD DAMNED HEALING LIGHT! WHERE?
My body is bouncing forward and back. My head is shaking 100 miles a second back and forth like the Energizer Bunny on speed, and I am hyperventilating. Tears, buckets, oceans of wet pain, fly and fall across the room. I am seeing things and I don’t know what I am seeing and I know they are bad. No, not bad. Evil.
And then, I’m crying, wailing, howling, howling from the darkest depths, from the Forgotten Land deep inside, HELPME HELPME HELPME HELPME!!!
….oh my …God.
The hair is standing on the back of my neck. My breathing slows. I am quietly weeping. Douglass sits across from me watching, calm and curious.
This is nuts. This is nuts. This is nuts.
Our guided meditation...
It felt and looked as if I was being raped.
NOVEMBER 1, 2009
Give up Drama...
We all have DRAMA in our lives, whether it is relationship drama, or health drama, or financial drama, or just plain LIFE IS CHAOS DRAMA.
And when DRAMATIC PROBLEMS arise, we all need to remember that ultimately, WE are the ones creating the DRAMA. Yes, the Problem is often real, tangible and very much alive, but the DRAMA…
we create it.
You see, Problems are life. Intrinsically linked to it. You can’t escape them, but you can accept them.
Problems simply are another task that we need to attend to. We take action. They eventually resolve.
DRAMATIC PROBLEMS are tasks that we imbue with LIFE AND DEATH EMOTION.
Imbued with LIFE AND DEATH EMOTION, the simple task "BREAK-UP" becomes:
THE VERY WORST MOST TERRIBLE BREAK-UP IN MY LIFE HOW COULD THIS EVER HAPPEN TO ME OH MY GOD I WANT TO KILL MYSELF NOW!
Ever been here?
So not fun.
And to be honest, what a sad waste of the limited time we spend here on this amazing planet!
Here is the simple scoop, gang. Problems in Life are NOT LIFE AND DEATH. There is no need to imbue your problems with emotion.
Stop, breathe, show up, look your problems squarely in the eye, brainstorm on some simple courses of action, and then choose one or two actions and set them in motion.
With THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS, I was caught up with some fascinating manifestations in my body and psyche. At many moments I drifted into DRAMA (as you will see from many of my video journals) but what ultimately saved me, was my ability to step away from my DRAMA, get curious, explore, discover, try new things, and keep going. If I believed in my DRAMA, I would probably be in a mental institution today, but I refused to. I learned to step away from my DRAMA. I connected to my soul, that part of me that has quiet power, that believes in possibility and is elegantly UNSTOPPABLE.
Learning to step away from my DRAMA was my greatest life lesson, and now, stepping away from DRAMA is my greatest strength. I am doing so much better than I was 6 years ago when THE PEEPS first manifested.
Giving up Drama, leads to peace, lots of it, tons of it, mountains of it, coming at you on a daily basis.
I am not perfect now, occasionally I still BELIEVE IN MY DRAMA, but most of the time, I can close the curtain, experience things differently and take intelligent action, and sometimes, I can even have fun in the process.
Now, here’s the question for you:
What DRAMATIC PROBLEMS are you creating
and how can you step away from your DRAMA
and bring more PEACE, and FUN into your life?
Keep me posted.
NOVEMBER 2, 2009
THE TALE #14
Hips are talking...
It started that morning. In Bodyshaping class. I could feel really sad feelings emanating from my left hip. I was really scared, unnerved, distracted in class, unfocused, but I did my best to stay grounded.
“Focus on teaching, Ken. Focus on how you can help your students workout better. Don’t focus on you. Focus on teaching.”
It was so weird. I could a tightness in my neck, squeezing and then it was gone. At times it felt like the top half of my body was teaching class, while my lower body was weeping. A bizarre battle between my head and my emotions.
And my neck was so tight….
At the end of the class as we were stretching, my head suddenly twitched side to side. I stopped it. No one noticed or said anything.
“Oh please not here!”
I was feeling so sad, almost sickly sad as I stretched and smiled and pretended.
“What the hell is going on? Please not now, not here…”
After class, I had two private clients.
“Oy, how am I going to do this?”
I pretended. I smiled. I motivated. I held it in.
“Oh please no not now do you hear me? NOT NOW PLEASE!!
On my way home that afternoon, I knew I had to do something. This was crazy. The feelings emanating from my hips were getting stronger and stronger. Something was coming out. Something bad. Someone or something was trying to communicate with me… or hurt me.
I knew who it was…but I didn’t.
“Something is happening. I am coming apart!”
As I drove up 684 to my little cabin in the woods, I knew it was time. Time to figure this out. Have it out if needs be.
There was some/one/thing in my hips, trying to talk to me, tell me things or maybe just hurt me.
I got home, pulled out my video camera, sat in my big old easy chair, turned on the camera, and proceeded to have a ONE ON ONE CONVERSATION with my left hip….
What the hell was I thinking?
THE TALE #15
TALKING WITH MY HIPS!
Here is the video from that fateful day, September 22, 2003 where I sat down, turned on the video camera, and had a one on one conversation with my hips. This footage to me is very disturbing, and I am sure you will find it disturbing too. When I view it, I am still amazed that this really happened to me, that I was truly caught up in this crazy journey where my body had a mind of its own. 6 years later, it is all like a dream now, a faded nightmare of my past.
The blinders of my painful childhood have been lifted because of my PEOPLE IN MY HIPS experience.
I am not stuck in the pain which I couldn't see. I'm free - not completely, I still have a pinky toe mired in the mud of my childhood, but so much of my life now is calm, safe and peaceful.
My unconscious mind had a colonic.
I'm not scared really of anything anymore. Yes, I can get frightened, or startled but I know now that no matter what happens to me in life ...
I WILL BE FINE.
Having expressed that, here is a really scary video which shows my first communication with "that part of me" emanating from my hips.
November 4, 2009
The Tale #16
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
So, as you saw in the video in my previous post, my body was bouncing around by itself, and I was communicating with some bizarre "child-self" living in my hips.
So what do I do now? Who could I tell about this? My legs and my body were bouncing around and I wasn't even doing YOGA! To be totally honest, despite my curious nature, I don't think I have ever been more scared in my life.
This was MENTAL INSTITUTION stuff. There was two of me living in me. Something needed to be done.
So what did I do? I continued to delve, explore, go where I really shouldn't have been going.
This whole experience was SO outside of my belief system as to what was possible.
How is my body moving of it's own accord? What the hell is splitting off in me? And the most frightening piece, WHAT HAPPENED TO ME as a young child, and why is my body choosing this time (at age 45) to tell me.
This was something out of a bad Sci-Fi flick.
The brutally beaten chld-self is taking over the Personal Trainer's body to seek out and murder his abuser, dragging said Personal Trainer along for the ride.
(You will see as this story unfolds, there just might be some truth to this...)
Oh God, I just wanted to be a Yoga instructor...
Just a note: If you feel I am being tongue and cheek here and possibly poorly humorous, I just want to be clear that that is my coping mechanism. Humor is one of the things that helped me through this heinous time in my life. Please excuse my humor if it offends you, since we are dealing with some VERY SERIOUS ISSUES.
But I'm sorry. I can't go to the Dark Side, not today, not now, not after all I have gone through.
November 5 , 2009
The Tale #17
Yelling at my Hips!
Here is a video diary which I filmed in September 2003 when I was in the middle of all of this madness.
Again, this is not flattering, but in this video diary you can see how the emotions are coming out of me in a … shall we say…volatile manner. Part of my anger stems from my fear and frustration in dealing with this issue, and part of the emotion stems from the STUFF coming out in my body. So please forgive my unattractive outbursts. I was just trying to figure all of this out.
This is a perfect example of one my video diary entries.
I am talking to the camera to document my crazy process,
for this moment NOW,
sharing this story after I have cured myself.
Wow, the power of intention. Go figure.
It's inspiring and disturbing for me to view myself back then. I'm inspired by my courageousness in trying to figure out a solution, and I am saddened and disturbed to see myself back then when I was in a place where I was totally lost, frantically holding on to some future date where I would share this story and hopefully help others with this information.
I am so happy to be here now, living alone in my body, cramp free sharing this tale.
Please tell your friends.
November 6, 2009
KUNDALINI YOGA AWAKENING?
Yesterday I received a comment on this site from a gentleman named Leo.
I suppose you have had a whole bunch of people tell you that your experiences are classic Kundalini yoga awakening. Not that I am saying that that is what happened, although your experience is very similar to people who have. If you haven’t read about this form of yoga, try googling “Kundalini yoga.”
Now I would love to be able to say that I have had a KUNDALINI YOGA AWAKENING. It sounds cool.
Like real cool Enlightened Yogi stuff.
And who knows maybe I can write a book about it?
YOU TOO CAN HAVE A KUNDALINI YOGA AWAKENING!
POWER BLAST YOUR CHAKRAS AND LIVE YOUR LIFE NOW!
The truth is: I really haven’t defined what happened to me. I have documented it. Called it a bunch of names Yogic and Psychological in context but I don’t really know what it was. A PSYCHOTIC BREAK? A KUNDALINI YOGA AWAKENING? Maybe the same thing. It would be interesting to compare the symptom of traditional “Mental Illness” with the characteristics of “Kundalini Yoga Awakening.”
Let me google “Kundalini Yoga Awakening.”
OK, here is some of what I found:
Symptoms of KUNDALINI YOGA AWAKENING:
Tingling in the body and brain. Flushes of energy. Fluttering or twitching of mucles. Pinching and burning in various regions of the body.
Negative: Pain in the lower back, back of the neck and headaches.
Of the above mentioned methods, the last one is said to be the most important. Trying to awaken your Kundalini by force and without the aid of a guru can be dangerous. This can result in some symptoms such as:
- mental confusion
- headache or the feeling of something heavy in your head
- intense mood swings
- epilepsy or other involuntary body movements
- irregular breathing
- immoral behavior
Therefore, the Kundalini must never be awakened by force. Like a real snake, it can and will strike you if you provoke it. And like a professional snake handler, the guru will guide you on how to tame this snake and deal with it properly.
Perhaps it is because of the things mentioned here that Kundalini Yoga has come to be called the most powerful Yoga ever known. Some even call it as the mother of all Styles of Yoga. Its effects can be very powerful and beneficial, but can also be vicious if not handled correctly.
Wow! My symptons are pretty similar: Pain in the lower back, back of the neck. Pinching or burning in various regions of the body. Mental confusion, psychosis, epilepsy or other involuntary body movements.
I wasn’t practicing Kundalini Yoga. But I was diving into the energy, forcing a solution or a resolution, awakening the KUNDALINIORAWHATEVERITWAS by force?
It was rising in me, from my base chakra, and I had no idea what it was so it wasn’t properly focused, or released, or organized or contained.
It’s like I had A KUNDALINI YOGA FART. A Blast from my past of really bad stuff right out of my base chakra and into my body, where it became trapped, stagnant, stuck.
I can remember feeling the energy sometimes flowing around my lower back, up, down, left, right, stuck there or moving with pain from right to left in a minutes time.
So how did I release it? Was it the physical work over time with Douglass and my discoveries with the roller? (more on the roller in the future.) Or was it the psychotherapy? Or did it just dissipate over time. Or is that snake mentioned above, STILL TRAPPED IN MY BODY WAITING TO STRIKE?
I am not ready to go any of these places. If it was "KUNDALIN YOGA AMAKENING," could “Mental Illness” also be classified as “KUNDALINI YOGA AWAKENING?” Remember I was having conversations with a dis-placed child self living in my left hip. Is this “Kundalini Yoga Awakening” or “Mental Illness” or both?
But I am curious. I need to know more. Labeling may not necessarily help me here, but more knowledge unbridled by labels could illuminate more.
I really have transformed from my experience of THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS. I am not as attached to my emotions or my drama and I really like myself and who I am.
Was the Yoga responsible for my transformation, or was it a year in intensive therapy, or both?
Let’s explore. Let’s bag the labels - Yogic, psychological or otherwise.
So many possibilities.
NOVEMBER 11, 2009
THE TALE #18
So my body started jumping around by itself as I communicated with a displaced “child-self” that was manifesting from my hips.
What the HELL?
My nervous system was on edge. My mind confused. What the hell was going on?
There was some unknown event or events deep within me causing this “child-self” to try and communicate with me, and that communication stemming from my hips was causing me to come undone. Totally undone. I was losing it and I was so so so scared.
THIS WAS CRAZY!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, my father was committed to a mental institution when I was growing up. It was a scary bizarre time for me. I can remember one day I received a gift from him which he made in his ARTS and CRAFTS class at St. Vincent’s Psychiatric Hospital. It was a tiled Ashtay, tan and white, unsymmetrical, heavy.
And I didn’t even smoke.
I was 10 at the time. To have your father “lose” his mind is so not fun. As I am writing this now, I can feel the pain again of being confused, and sad, and not really knowing if he would ever come back, for even though he beat me mercilessly, I LOVED HIM.
HE WAS MY FATHER AND I LOVED HIM!
What we choose to believe as children….
Sometimes not much different than what we choose to believe as adults.
My impulse was to do YOGA, ground with YOGA, maybe possibly if I could connect so intensely intimately with my body, I could release or let go of this “craziness” that was manifesting in me and through me.
I would not under any circumstances let myself BE COMMITTED.
I would figure this out.
Whatever I had to do I would do it.
Deep inside, I was so clear that this experience or process or whatever this was would not be my one way ticket to the LOONEY BIN.
I WOULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LIVE OUT MY FATHER’S LEGACY!
Thank God for clarity.
This clarity, this unfettered determination is what kept me going. The stubborn Capricorn goat in me would not let these feelings or this child self, or this experience WIN.
Here is a video diary from the day after “My Bouncing Child-Self” adventure. On this video you can clearly see that I am a mess, but the video also illustrates my life-saving clarity and determination.
We all have it.
Don't you forget it.
NOVEMBER 12, 2009
THE TALE #19 and THE PLAY #4
RUBBING COCONUT OIL ON MY BODY?
So I decided I needed to do EVERYTHING in my power to fix myself, to release this crazy energy and get back to a normal life.
My older sister Cathy is a psychologist so I called her and left a message saying I was having some emotional issues asking her to refer me to a good therapist. I also called ALEXANDER HAND, the head guru at BeYoga, who led some of my Teacher Training classes and I set up a private session with him.
(From The Play - The People in my Hips by Ken Wolf)
(Please know I changed the names and some of the dialogue for the play, but this is the essence of what really happened. This actually takes place a couple days before my bouncing child-self adventure (THE TALE #15.) and the video at bottom takes place a day before.)
(Enter right and sit on center box, face out front responding to voice overs)
(Voiceover) Alexander: Hello, have a seat on the fusia Yoga mat on the floor, and I will be right with you.
Ken: Sure. Thanks.
Alexander: (answers) Alexander Hand. … No, I really can’t talk now I am going into session…no, …. No,….. No, I don’t fucking care what the insurance company says : We are not libel. I won’t pay a cent, not a bloody red cent to that imbecile. He was the one who stuck his foot in his mouth …..I will be right with you.
Ken: Ok, thanks.
Alexander: Feel free to meditate while you wait.
Ken: That’s ok. I’m fine.
Alexander (on phone) ….no, absolutely not. We will not pay one cent to that pseudo-YOGI. His teeth will be fine. We are not responsible. I am busy. I will call you later. NAMASTE! So how can I help you?
Ken: Well, I have been having some problems in my hips.
Alexander: Second Chakra Svadisthana: the Lesson the RIGHT TO FEEL. Having emotional problems?
Ken: Yeah, sort of?
Alexander: Well, sit, close your eyes and breathe.
(Ken does so.)
What do you feel?
Oh see that, you are blocked. AT YOUR HEART CHAKRA - ANAHATA - THE LESSON - the right to love.
You need to forgive someone.
Ken: uh huh?
Alexander: You are experiencing the classic PITA imbalance. Yoga prescription: Slow, silent practice every day, and each night before you go to bed, rub coconut oil over your entire body.
Alexander: RUB COCONUT Oil over your entire body before you go to bed. It will help balance your pita. That and the forgiveness. Now let’s do some MOOBEE Points on your back to help balance your energy.
Ken: MOOBEE points?
Alexander: Yes, energy points that I discovered intuitively. I never studied MOOBEE I just knew. They should help balance your imbalance, that and the coconut oil.
I took off my shirt and lay on a small portable massage table in the room. Alexander then proceeded to press on certain points on my back, …..then and the room started to spin.
I am sorry. I can’t act this one out.
(Cue lights and sound walk to vomitorium)
I was somehow transported back in time again. It was dark, so so dark, I was being held down, I was scared so scared, someone, the dark man was holding me down, a dark man was hurting me, my right leg started to kick violently, I tried to hold in a tortured scream but I couldn’t, my entire body began to shake as Alexander continued to press on my back and neck, I wanted to yell out please stop please stop stop but part of me was hoping that whatever he was doing on my back would heal me. The past was NOW NOW NOW NOW HELP and I was somehow trapped in it HELP fighting for HELP my life…….
Alexander: There you go. That will be $175 dollars. Please make your check out to Cash. And don’t forget the COCONUT OIL.
(Ken walks over, left of TV and presses remote.)
(CUE VIDEO OF KEN AND THE COCONUT OIL.)
Friday November 13, 2009
THE TALE: #20
HEALING THE DINOSAUR WITHIN!
The next day, after my Coconut oil adventure, I woke up and felt like I had an electric lamp up my you know what.
Wild crazy energy was running up and down my spine. I felt like the Energizer Bunny on Speed.
It was getting worse.
“Oh my God, and I have to teach class today!”
I arrived early at the Community Center where I teach my classes. I was a mess. Energy and old feelings were flowing through my body and they were out of control. The director of the center was coming in. I pulled him aside.
“Jim, can I talk to you. You have a sec.”
We went into his office. The tears streamed from my eyes like a mini-waterfall.
“Something is happening to me. I don’t know what it is. I think I will be OK but I just want to give you a heads up in case I need your help.
“Are you alright, Ken?”
“Yeah, I am fine. It is just old stuff. Old stuff. I will be fine. But I just want to you to know that I am a little out of sorts in case I need your help.”
“Are you sure you are going to be alright?”
“Well, I am here if you need me. We all are here if you need anything.”
“I’ll be fine. I just wanted you to know…”
As I wrote in an earlier post, (The Tale #14) I somehow made it thru class and through my day and then came home and had my first experience with communicating with my “displaced child self” or as I later called him “BABY KEN.”
I barely slept that night after that first communication. I could feel the energy running up and through my abdomen. It was like the energy had a life of it’s own.
When I finally got out of bed, my neck was very tight, as if there was… a hand on the back of my neck… choking me, and then I could feel someone …hitting me in the back.
No one was there. It was all made up in my mind or coming out of my body out of my hips out of the crazy energy that I had somehow awoken in my body. The room started to spin. It was almost as if I was being TIME TRAVELED back to another time AND I was here in this time, here with ANGRY HANDS choking me and ANGRY FISTS hitting me and ANGRY boots kicking me in the back!
I called my sister again. I needed a therapist. No answer again. I left another message.
DAMN! Help! I need help!
I couldn’t wait. A number of years earlier when I was having some relationship issues, I had seen a psychologist named Susan Danvers. I found her number, called and left a message saying that I would drop off a DVD of my conversation with my displaced child self from the night before.
I dropped a DVD off that afternoon at her office and her receptionist called me and I made an appointment to see Susan that night..
I entered. Susan looked older, tired. She also looked scared.
I was a mess. I was shaking slightly and half-weeping as I entered. When last I saw Susan I was complaining about my girlfriend problems. This time, I had a displaced child self living in my hips and imaginary hands, choking me and hitting me. My how I have grown!
“Hi Ken, it’s good to see you again.. I got your call and your DVD.” She smiled but I could see the fear.
“Did you watch it?” I asked.
“No, I didn’t. I don’t think I need to watch it.”
She watched it. I could tell. I think.
“It is only 5 minutes. Do you have a computer here?” I needed to know that she saw it. So she could see how messed up I am so she could somehow help me with all of her girlfriend problem advice!
“No, I don’t think I need to watch it.” Susan reiterated.
“Why?” I demanded. “It is what is going on for me! Maybe you could understand. Maybe you could help if you saw it!
“I don’t need to see it.” Why was she being so confrontational? I need help! I need help!
“Why? Why don’t you need to see it? If you haven’t seen it, how do you know that you don’t need to see it?”
“Seeing it is not going to help your therapy here.” She said smugly.
“Why?” my head started to shake slightly up and down. My left hip started to burn. I could feel again the hands on my neck choking me choking me choking me.
“Everything happens in this room.” She said calmly. “I don’t need to see the DVD. It all happens in this room. So what is going on for you?”
“What is going on for me? I am pissed off that you won’t take 4 minutes and look at my MENTAL BREAKDOWN on DVD. If you saw what was going on with me, maybe you could help me!!!!!!
“I’m fine.” She murmured calmly.
“What the fuck do you mean you are fine? What about me? I am the patient and I am not fine. I AM NOT FINE!”
“Ken, please calm down.” She said assertively. “Obviously, you’re upset.”
“Uh yeah, wouldn’t you be upset if all day long the invisible man was choking you and hitting you on the back??
She sat there frozen and then whispered. “No one is choking you. You seem like you’re fine.”
“You seem like you’re fine.”
Whatever was left in me of any semblance to rationality just flew out the window!
“I AM NOT FINE! “ I screamed. “Hello! HELLO! I am the one who is supposed to be in DENIAL not you!”
“I am not in denial.” She said defiantly.
“How do you know? If you are in denial, you wouldn’t know.”
Susan was getting mad and holding it all in.
“ I am the therapist here.”
“So what does that make you? God?”
She stopped. Looked down and then up.
“Ken, I don’t know if I am the right therapist for you. Why don’t we do this? Why don’t you go home and think about it, and then call me if you think I am the right therapist for you, and we will go from there.”
“BUT I NEED HELP NOW! I have friggin BABY KEN in my hip! And I feel like there are hands on my throat!
“You don’t have to be so dramatic!”
“But this is DRAMATIC, GOD DAMNIT! This is insane! It’s nuts. What’s happening to me?”
Susan looked me right in the eye.
“Go home. Think about things. And then call me if you wish.”
She turned to her desk, ignoring me.
Now I have had abandonment issues in the past,
BUT WHEN YOUR THERAPIST ABANDONS YOU?
Oh boy…so not fun…
I felt a tightness in my throat…
but it wasn’t my imaginary strangler coming back for more fun.
It was fear. Utter fear.
Flashback: I am auditioning for a College Acting Scholarship at Adelphi University in 1976. I was asked to do an improv exercise with some other actors where I was to play a baby dinosaur. If I was going to win this thing I had to go for it like I never went for anything in my life. The improv began. I was a hungry little dinosaur and I wanted my food. I really wanted my food, but the other dinosaurs didn’t want me to eat. So I got mad, real mad, so frigging mad, my face curled, my voice rasped, and I transformed so much so I actually scared the other actors.
I left thinking I aced the scholarship.
Later, I heard from my girlfriend (who was on the scholarship board) that I was rejected.
They said I was TOO ANGRY, and that I was potentially dangerous to others and no way on earth would they ever give me the scholarship or even want me on campus.
And now it was 25 years later, and the DINOSAUR was back. Something ANGRY was coming out of me, hurting me and striking out at others. And I felt like I couldn’t stop it.
I have to keep it in! I have to keep it in!
I HAVE TO KEEP IT IN!
Oh God, please…
November 16, 2009
THE TALE #21
I found myself in the Pizza Parlor in the shopping center in Goldens Bridge, NY. I was feeling really anxious, crazy anxious, so almost crazy, like things were happening in my body and I couldn’t stop them. I felt the hands on my neck and an occasional imaginary punch on my back. And my head was starting to shake..
…shake in public.
Man, I had to stop this. I had to.
I ordered 2 large slices with Broccoli Rabe and a Coke and I ate as fast as I could. I felt like I was going to throw up and hyperventilate and hyperventilate at the same time. And it wasn’t from the Garlic in the Broccoli Rabe. It was from the People, the People in my Hips.
“Oh hell, I was coming undone. The pizza wasn’t working, it wasn’t grounding me, it wasn’t helping me. Oh God please what is going on?”
I went just outside the pizza parlor and I frantically called my friend Joanna seeking her help.
“Hi Joanna! Um, uh something is happening to me. Something crazy. Something I can’t explain. I think…… I need some help.”
“It’s OK. What is happening?” She spoke softly from her end of the line.
“Something is happening to me, I don’t know. I have People. People in my Hips. It is a long story.”
“I don’t understand what you mean, but I am here to help if you need me.”
“No, no, I am fine. I just need someone, a therapist, or a witch doctor or something to help. You know people.”
“Yes, I do. Let me get the number of my therapist. She does bodywork and more. Hold on, I am here for you.” She got off the phone.
I started to cry. A couple of teenagers coming out of Baskin Robbins gave me a funny look.
Joanna is one of my oldest friends and a wealth of information when it comes to alternate therapies. She was back on the phone with her therapist’s information.
“Her name is Karen Judge. She works out of her house in the suburbs of New Haven Connecticut. You are going to be OK Ken. You are going to be OK.”
It was dark. I was lying on an old mattress in the basement of a house in the suburbs of New Haven. Karen Judge, a 60 year old hippy bodywork therapist was sitting on the floor by me with her hand on my chest right over over my heart.
My teeth were chattering, my left leg was shaking. My eyes were closed. I could hear her whispering softly:
“Know that you are safe. We are going to go back. Back to a time when all this happened when the little boy inside was safe, safe to play, safe to be alive. Let’s go back. I’m here. It’s safe, Ken, it’s safe.
Suddenly the room started to spin. My left leg started to kick violently. My hands leaped from the mattress.
“Oh Shit! Here we go again!”
I was in my bedroom, I was young, something was happening. My Dad was yelling. Throwing things, threatening. My Dad was being CRAZY! I was so so scared. And I was HURT. Something happened! Something happened! What happened? What the hell happened? What was going on? Dad, please no…what are you going to do?
My body started to vibrate and jump like someone speaking in tongues a revival church meeting. I wailed, I wailed, I wailed in pain! I felt like my teeth would break from the intense chattering, and I felt like my head was ready to pop right off my neck.
I felt like I was going… to Die!
No, I don’t want to die, not now, not now please!!
Oh my God, what was happening!!!!
“I think your child needs some help.” Karen whispered. “Can you give your child something to protect him? What can you give him? How can you help him?”
I was so confused and scared. I started a Yoga Teacher Training Program and now I am lying on an old mattress in some New Age hippy therapist’s basement channelling in some lost traumatic event where I was brutally beaten by my late father. And now, this New Age hippy was asking me to GIVE something to my child self to protect him?
THIS IS SO WACKED!
THIS IS SO WACKED!
And I was so scared. A 45 year old man still in fear for his life, 40 years later….
Oh God, no!
So here’s what I did.
I grew up on Comic books, Batman Superman Green Lantern and the Justice League were my heroes and because of that I believe in truth, justice and TONY ROBBINS MOTIVATIONAL TAPES. So then and there in my post traumatic wacked out state I decided to give my child self ALL THE POWERES OF ALL THE SUPERHEROES IN THE WORLD. I gave him the strength of Superman, the intellect of Batman, the power ring of Green Lantern and the combined powers of the Justice league and I we my child self Baby Ken or whatever the fuck was in me FOUGHT BACK! AND FOUGHT BACK AND FOUGHT BACK!
TAKE THAT YOU GOD DAMN MOTHER FUCKER! NEVER AGAIN! NEVER AGAIN!
HOW DARE YOU HURT ME! NEVER AGAIN! NEVER AGAIN!
DO YOU HEAR ME?
GOD DAMN IT! NEVER AGAIN!
When I finished, I lay there totally spent as if I had just had sex with the entire Dallas Cowboy Cheerleading Squad.
There was no more shaking. No more teeth chattering. Something had shifted. My body was grounded.
I paid Karen Judge a hundred bucks and I was on my way, still scared, confused but grounded, very grounded, extremely grounded.
But as I lay in bed that night, I thought to myself.
“What else have I forgotten?”
And I felt an icy shiver in my right hip…..
November 17, 2009
THE TALE #22
OK, now we are going to get into some DARK STUFF.
Now I don’t really like DARK STUFF. I would rather not talk about it.
But DARK STUFF is real. We can process away negative emotions, but one can’t process away DARK STUFF.
DARK STUFF is DARK STUFF and that is the be all end of it all.
But we don’t have to give it power.
While Karen Judge was taking me back into my past with her HANDS ON therapy. I learned something.
I don’t really know if it is true, but…it could be.
When the “People in my Hips” started going crazy in me, I filmed as much of the process as was humanly possible. I filmed video journal sessions, Yoga sessions and psychotherapy sessions.
I also filmed my session with Karen Judge. (The Tale #21)
Here is a very brief clip of an event in our session where I remembered something pretty awful. Karen at that point had taken her hands off my heart and had worked down my body to my right lower leg. The major bouncing had ended, but in this clip I connect with a major big time WHOPPER of a bad event.
Please know I digitally blocked out Karen's face for privacy issues. We will talk more right after this clip.
I was told by my parents that when I was very young, my right tibia (lower leg) was deformed, and it had to be broken to be put back into place.
Was that true? Sounds good.
Or did my crazy at the time father BREAK my leg in a fit of unfettered rage?
I will never really know.
What I do know is that NOW, 40 plus years later, I forgive my father for ALL of his atrocities. It doesn’t mean I condone his actions. It means I simply forgive him, and LOVE him forever with all of my being.
Walking back into and looking at my “People in my Hips” journey has been amazing for me. I am seeing the totality of my life and my journey here thus far in a new light. So many of us are trapped by, crazy angry about, and just plain programmed by our fucked up pasts, so much so that we are unable to show up in the present as who WE REALLY ARE.
The past is over. It is no one’s fault. We can’t change it. It’s done.
But today, now, we have the power and awareness to change ourselves, and in that transformation of self, we have the ability to literally change the world and our future.
Let’s go for it!