November 18, 2009
THE TALE #23
SEEKING THE TRUTH WITH VIDEO CAMERA IN HAND!
The next day I awoke and my hip was really tight but there was no random teeth chattering, no hands on my neck, and no imaginary blows to my back. Thank God!
Whatever Karen Judge had done with me on that mattress had grounded me, somehow resolving the Post Traumatic Stress/TIME TRAVEL that I had been experiencing.
But as I got out of bed, I stretched my hip….
…And I started to shake a bit.
“BABY KEN, are you still there?”
And then WHAM!
My head quickly shook side to side!
“He is still here. DAMN, I’m not cured,” I moaned to myself, “but at least now I can function again.”
Somehow I had put the lid on Pandora’s Box, but I still had to deal with BABY KEN and the demons inside.
Now the thought that my father had actually broken my leg was still reverberating through my psyche.
WHAT THE HELL AM SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT?
And who the hell knows if that was even true?
When someone is the victim of trauma, it is like the hard disk on their internal computer is smashed. When they go to retrieve data/memories, the connections are all messed up so incomplete memories often appear or data that seems like it might be real shows up in the memory search engine. I had been remembering a myriad of CRAZY memories during Yoga and then daily life but was what I was remembering real, or was it a misplaced memory file?
Contrary to POPULAR BELIEF, remembering traumatic events is not necessarily the path to healing trauma. Keeping memories, experiences and various parts of yourself, firmly associated in my past is a much better way to go. I was hoping that if I remembered the “lost” events I would be healed. Far from it. But I continued trying to remember these events even thinking that that was the solution. And so for over 3 years my internal computer, continued to breakdown….
Obviously, I had forgotten things. DARK STUFF. And in my naivete I decided that I would do what it takes to uncover and recover my past.
During my first conversation with “BABY KEN” I got a flash of PRIESTS.
Yes, priests. I am not kidding. A whole bunch of priests doing some really nasty things. Wow, it is the conventional childhood abuse scenario.
But I also knew about the ambiguity of traumatic memories. Maybe “priests” were a substitution, an easy substitution for something far worse. (Like my DAD.) If I couldn’t trust my memories or what I was thinking, what could I trust? How could I really know what HAPPENED?
When I was young, I went to Catholic School in Rye, New York. At five for a christmas pageant, I got to “play” an altar boy. It was all very cute and fun, but I can remember walking over by the church outside of the school dressed as an altar boy when a priest came out and said “Come on, are you coming to help with MASS? Come on!” Yes, he was probably just teasing me… but the truth or my truth of the matter is:
I DON’T REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT.
I decided I would take my video camera to the church, now 40 years later, and walk about with BABY KEN and see what I could discover.
Here is the video. Gotta admire me for my determination.
Strange. No discovery.
Just an interaction with an incredibly pious old man.
There is a reason for everything….
November 19, 2009
THE TALE #24
SEEKING HIDDEN MEMORIES WITH BABY KEN!
Memory is a funny thing. Often, it shows up to prove our point.
But is what it tells us real?
I wish I knew.
Follows is a video journal from a little bit before I went to the church (See my last post THE TALE #23).
I am starting to remember "things," and my displaced child-self (where did I ever get that term?) BABY KEN appears when I start to talk about it all.
Presently, I am trying to remember the sequence of events of my People in the Hips journey. As I go thru the videos for this blog, I am discovering some new events, some surprise sequencing that I had forgotten.
Also, I am seeing myself in a really messed up place trying to be so upbeat, and all I can say is "GOD BLESS MY DETERMINATION!!!!!!!!" I have a wacky child self in me talking to me and causing my body to jump around, and I am simply exploring it all.
Thank God I had the guts to explore. It is why I am writing this, whole, happy and really centered, 6 years later.
I edited out some of the language (for YOUTUBE friendliness and to make it more palpable for me and my audience) and the names in this video have been changed for respect and privacy.
But that's me. The Yoga Scientist trying to figure it all out.
If I can leave you all with just one thing, it is this...
Trust your gut, not your feelings, when you are challenged.
Never give up, explore, stay curious.
There is always a solution. It just may take a while to find it.
November 25, 2009
THE TALE #25
WHAT HAVE I FORGOTTEN?
So I could function more or less, I just had a displaced Child Self by the name of Baby Ken living in my hips who was trying to tell me things, things which I THINK I had forgotten. I would be feeling fine and then all of a sudden I would feel a sharp pain in my hip flexor, sometimes seeing a vague image of the woods or of a wooden porch or of a bedroom, and then I would be a mess for days. Sometimes working with Douglass doing yoga would help but other times it might make it worse. I would stretch with a strap, go running, hang upside down from my feet, or soak for hours in a hot tub and nothing would shift. And I would cry, random crying unconnected to a specific event, all the while pretending to friends, family, clients and students that I was OK.
I was definitely not OK. I needed to know what happened. What I had forgotten...
I called up my 73 year old mother (my father died of a heart attack 14 years earlier) and asked her if I could interview her about our family history. I told her that she knew things that none of us knew and that it needed to be documented on video, when the truth of the matter was I needed a way to ask her some pointed questions about my childhood so I could figure out how to get the people out of my hips. I just couldn't tell her the truth of what was going on with me and my SPLIT. She wouldn't and couldn't understand.
I am not proud of the fact that I lied to my mother. I know there is no excuse but I was scared and really confused about what was happening to me. And I didn't want to FREAK her out.
I still haven't told my mother about my real reason for our video interview. I don't think I ever willl.
She was so thrilled to talk about her past, her parents and their history and it made her feel special, except when I asked questions about DAD. When the subject of Dad came up, things changed....
I have the two hour interview which I filmed with two video cameras, one on her, and one on me. I have never gone through the footage since that day in late September 2003. During the interview, I know there was one very interesting moment when she talked about Dad and shared something at the time I thought profound, but for the life of me now, I can't remember it.
Is this present day loss of memory or my unconscious mind causing me to forget to protect me? I don't know.
I am going to go through that footage this weekend and get back to you.
Unless I forget to...
November 24, 2009
OPRAH AND INTENTION
So Oprah announced on Friday that she would be saying Good bye to her show in 2011. All of a sudden, I have fire under my ass. I made a commitment to myself many moons ago when I was all screwed up with my People in my Hips "condition" that I would figure out a way to cure myself and then get on Oprah to get the word out and to help people with similar problems.
BUT NOW OPRAH IS GOING AWAY!
To be honest, if I never get on The Oprah Show, that's fine. There are other ways to get the word out about what I discovered during my People in my Hips days. Oprah is not the only mechanism for my message.
But the truth of the matter is this:
It would be really cool to make that happen. Being on Oprah with this tale, honestly, would be a dream come true. To simply sit with her on her show and talk about my adventures and how what I learned can help lots of people world wide. I gotta go for it.
Last April, I did a radio interview with Lise Avery of Anything Goes, Internationally Syndicated Radio about my show and my "People in my Hips" journey. It was one of the most exciting moments in my life, for I felt I was getting my message out in a new and exciting way. Just last Wednesday, I finally got a audio copy of the interview. I wept as I listened. It was so clear to me that speaking about this experience in whatever format is my path. I sounded empowered, centered, passionate and so alive.
So I am going to make this happen, Oprah and then the world. Most individuals are stuck in their own thinking, trapped in their own feelings. I was given a gift that said so strongly "YOU ARE NOT YOUR FEELINGS." and now as I come to live my life knowing that, living that, there is a sense of wonder and possibility in most things that I do now.
So even if I never sit with Oprah, I have to say her essence, her possibility, has lead me down this road to sharing this tale on a larger scale.
And I am just beginning.
OPRAH, we are going to get there! Absolutely.
November 28, 2009
THE TALE #26
Therapy in CREEPSVILLE!
So I didn’t have the balls to look through the MOM footage.
I will get to it this week, I promise.
So I was a mess. A big mess. I wasn’t bouncing around in my daily life but the bouncing was still showing up in Yoga and my hip was so so tight, and…. it would “talk” to me.
When I say “Talk” to me, literally I would hear in my head “No.” Or my hip would shake my head side to side to say “No.” You can see it on the Dr. Freud Video in one of my early posts. The hip talking to me thing was really weird. I mean really weird. But at least I could function, and go about my daily business. It was at night, and during my daily Yoga practice where things would get scary. Sometimes I would wake up in excruciating pain, at other times I would just feel a burning pain in my lower back, causing all the muscles there to be tight. And sometimes, I would just wake up knowing SOMETHING was wrong.
I called my sister again for a therapist referral, and she actually got back to me.
The therapist's name was KATHERINE FOOLMACHER (I changed the name for privacy). I called her and set up an appointment for that week. Katherine’s office was in her house, a very scary house in the boodocks of Putnam County, right above the Westchester border.
It was the like the ADDAMS FAMILY HOUSE, I am not kidding. I parked my Green Honda Civic in her driveway and walked up a stone path to her front door and I entered into a small foyer with only a small wooden bench. There was a sign on the bench which read:
“Please sit. I will come and get you when I am ready”.
I WILL COME AND GET YOU WHEN I AM READY?
This was NOT promising. I sat down, nervous about the upcoming session and a moment later a thin wirey gray haired man who looked like a reject from the movie Deliverance walked down the stairs, dragging a canvas sack with what looked like a dead body inside. I am not kidding.
“You’re here to see the MRS?” he said with a crazy look in his eyes.
“Yeah.” I replied politely.
“She’s good. She certainly knows how to fix things.” He giggled.
“She will be out when she is DONE fixin’ the person inside.” He stared at me.
My teeth started to chatter and it wasn’t from my PTSD.
“Feel free to make yourself at home. But don’t take off your shoes. People been know to take home some timber lice.”
I jumped up.
“Don’t worry I sprayed.” He laughed. “I’m just teasin…. But you never know. Huh Huh Huh… Man I hate Laundry!“ And he left.
A minute or two later, the door to the “therapy room” opened and a strange little old gray haired lady in her early 70’s with a big witches wart on her nose appeared in the doorway. It was Katherine.
I introduced myself and entered.
Her office was a mess. Magazines were piled left and right and the whole place was generally dusty and creepy. Really dusty and creepy. Was this place some sort of psychiatric slaughter house helmed by some ancient gray-haired serial killer and her inbred son? And what did they do with the bodies? Obviously I was feeling a bit paranoid.
Kathryn sat behind her desk and gazed at me with a gentle smile.
“I am Katherine Foolmacher.” She said calmly. “And what brings you here?”
And so I began telling my story. From my first Yoga cry to my inner child superhero adventure with Karen Judge I talked non-stop for about 35 minutes. Katherine listened intently.
“So that’s it. And here I am.” I finished.
Katherine pause. Scratched her long nose and then said. “That is some story. “
“It certainly is.” I replied.
She got all serious and then said. “Do you know what I would like to do?”
I shook my head no.
“I would like to take all the abusive parents in the world and sit them in a circle.”
“Uh Huh?” I whispered.
“ And I would have them all turn to the right.”
“And I would have them all take their right hand and make a fist.” She was very serious now.
“Uh huh?…” I murmured.
“And then WHAM! punch the person in front of them!” She laughed fiendishly.
“Wow.” I was in shock. This was therapy?
“What would happen if they got a little of their own medicine?” she continued. “That would fix em. Yes, we will take all the abusive parents in the world and have them punch each other. It would be a better world. That would fix things.”
She was advocating abuse to eliminate abuse. Something was seriously wrong here.
“So what can I do? I mean for my hip and all this madness.” I asked.
“Well I don’t think we can organize a group punch right away, so I guess you will have to come here and we can talk about it.”
“Come here and we can talk about it.” Katherine repeated.
“But what can I do about the shaking?”
“I don’t know. What do you think?”
“I don’t know. I am here to get help.” I was very confused here.
Katherine smiled, a creepy smile.
“And I am here to help you help yourself. Those nasty parents… they could really use a good left hook to the jaw. We are coming to the end of our session. Before we finish, is there anything that you would like to complete on?”
“No, I’m fine.”
We made an appointment for another session and I left, knowing that I would never return.
That’ll fix her.
And as I drove home down the Taconic State Parkway in my green Honda Civic, I suddenly folded into my steering wheel as my left hip flexor cramped up.
Oh shit, this is not going to be fun.
November 30, 2009
THE TALE #27
THE VIDEO JOURNAL IN ACTION
The video journal was the way I grounded myself. The way I kept going. Knowing that someday (RIGHT NOW) after I healed myself, I would share my experience. Here is the second half of a video Diary right after I saw Karen Judge and was in the process of figuring out the "Broken Leg by Dad" scenario and "The Priest" scenario. My girlfriend and I had just broken up and I was alone up in my cabin in the woods of Northern Westchester trying to figure it all out.
There is a line in this video where I say: “I am either going insane or becoming sane.” I was becoming sane, grounded, in the moment, really present, but in order to do that I had to experience all the mysteries and madness from my hidden past.
It is over 6 years since this video journal. I am older, wiser, (maybe not as cute,) but I have grown up, really grown up by letting go of so so so much anguish from my childhood that I somehow locked in my unconscious and in my body.
This man struggling is a hero. We all are heroes when we refuse to give up, refuse to step into despair.
Ken from six years ago, I am so proud of you.
DECEMBER 2, 2009
THE TALE # 28
YOGA WITH BABY KEN
So there was some sort of bizarre entity living in my body, specifically my left hip. Everytime I write about this I am dumbstruck by what I am writing. I honestly had a displaced part of me, living in my body, which talked to me. OY! It all seems like a dream now, six years later, but when I look at some of the video I took, I am mesmerized.
After Katherine Foolmacher, I decided to get myself checked out physically. Maybe this was a neurological condition that caused this child self to talk with me - this was the crazy way I was thinking..
So I made an appointment with a Neurologist in Mt. Kisco. When I arrived my hip/child self was dormant, almost not there, almost as if that part of me did not want to be discovered or uncovered. The doctor, I forget his name, was a charming guy, early forties, personable, with a great bed side manner. He introduced himself, and asked me why I was there.
"Well, I am having some problems with my hip from Yoga and I shake sometimes."
"Huh? What do you mean by shake?" he asked.
"I uh, well sometimes, my uh, well my head goes side to side and my hip cramps up." I was feeling almost embarrassed.
"O....K...., well, let me test you out and we'll see what we find."
He did a series of neurological tests, and I responded appropriately. No bouncing. No crying. No nothing.
Baby Ken, where were you when I needed you?
When he finished the tests, he sat on the edge of the "patient table" and said, "Well, you seem fine to me."
And I was. Baby Ken was asleep or hiding. He was so willing to come out on camera, but with strangers, no way. Curious, huh?
As I was driving home, I could feel he was back. My left hip tingled, just a bit, like he was giggling....or crying.
I came home, built a fire in the fireplace, and did my nightly Yoga, bouncing a bit and feeling vaguely sad.
What was the solution? What the hell was my path? There was this "energy" in me which did not want to dissipate. And each day, it would show up in some odd way - hip cramping, weird random feelings, and now weird bizarre behaviors. All of a sudden, I couldn't sit on a train, or in a restaurant with a male sitting behind me. It made me ....uncomfortable. I knew the feeling was OLD, but still I honored my OLD feeling and always arranged my seating accordingly.
It was early November 2003. I was meeting with Douglass at a rental room studio on 72nd St. My hip was tight, and I was feeling "melancholy" and I knew it was not "PRESENT-BASED."
We began our Yoga and immediately I started to bounce and sob. Douglass by this time was used to it, so he just led me through the paces directing me into various Yoga asanas. We were doing a Cat/Downward Dog sequence when it hit me.
"Douglass, I am going to do Yoga with Baby Ken."
He looked at me softly and replied " Let's go for it."
"I am always feeling like that part of me is not connected but what if we were to do YOGA together?"
"OK, Ken, let's find out."
Douglass then led me through a series of floor Yoga asanas. When the shaking began, I would consciously take an image of myself as a child and merge it in my mind with my visual representation of my body. At first nothing happened but after about 10 minutes, the shaking slowed.
"Something's happening, Douglass."
"I can see that."
We continued. As we moved into a new stretch, I would take that image of my child, merge with my visual representation of my body, and my body would open up, open up rather drastically, with no shaking at all and all of a sudden my flexibility increased by upwards of 30%. It was uncanny! It was almost as if my visual representation of my body, was limiting my flexibility, and as I "messed with" that visual representational image by merging BABY KEN into the image, I stretched deeper than I had ever stretched before.
I started to laugh.
"Do you see what is going on here?"
"It's amazing, Ken. Just amazing."
All of a sudden, I was laughing as I did Yoga, almost laughing as a child laughs, and as I laughed and pulled Baby Ken literally in my mind into my Yoga, my body opened up.
When we finished I felt like a million tax free bucks. I had never felt so open, so alive.
Centered and IN my body.
Yoga means to YOKE, to bring together. Somehow in this process, I brought Baby Ken more into alignment.
For two weeks, I felt utterly amazing, like I was totally cured.
And then, Thanksgiving arrived, and with it a belly full of family "stuff"ing. I cramped up two days before, and ended up spending the day by myself...in fear...
...in fear of...
There was something to learn here, but what?
Why had I become disjointed, and GOD DAMNIT, how was I to cure myself?
December 6th, 2009
THE PLAY #5
RADIO INTERVIEW PART 1
Follows is part one of a radio interview I did with Lise Avery, Anything Goes!! Internationally Syndicated Radio at WFDU in New Jersey on April 6th, 2009 when I was performing in THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS.
I don't think I have ever felt more ON PURPOSE than when I did this radio interview. Lise is a pro, an amazing lady and a great interviewer, and it was such an honor to be on her show.
This is part one. More to come soon.
Let me know what you think!
December 7th, 2009
THE PLAY #6
RADIO INTERVIEW PART 2
Here's more of my interview with Lise Avery of ANYTHING GOES!! Internationally Syndicated Radio.
It was a little scary for me to talk about this crazy stuff on the radio - but it brought in tickets sales, and more importantly, people to whom I could share this information.
OPRAH, HERE I COME!!!
December 8th, 2009
THE PLAY #7
RADIO INTERVIEW PART 3
Here is part 3 of my interview with Lise Avery of ANYTHING GOES! Internationally Syndicated Radio.
December 9th, 2009
THE PLAY #8
RADIO INTERVIEW PART 4
Here is the final piece of my radio interview with Lise Avery of ANYTHING GOES!! Internationally Syndicated Radio.
Let me know what you think!
December 11, 2009
THE TALE 29 - THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS
This was going to be scary. Christmas. I so didn’t want to have my family know about my condition, and I was terrified my “stuff’ would come up on Christmas eve and all of a sudden there would be a 6th child sitting at the Christmas Eve dinner table - BABY KEN. Yes, I can make light of all this now, but I was so damned scared, and I didn’t really know what it was deep inside me scaring me so badly. ….but he/she/it was one nasty mother-F-er.
I felt like a leper. I was diseased somehow. I was having this “energy imbalance” or “nervous breakdown” whatever you would like to call it, but it was odd, strange, weird, and if I talked about it, no one would understand…so it became THE TIGHT HIP again. That is what I would tell my family and friends if I was buckled over in pain and starting to shake. I would say that I have a tight hip.
I didn’t Christmas shop for I had no “significant other” and the only one I had to buy for was my mother and every year I gave her a hundred dollar Macy’s Gift Card so I was done, plus, wandering around crowded stores wasn’t good for my condition. It made me real paranoid.
Now paranoid is not me. That is not who I believed I was, but it was what I was experiencing at times, in restaurants or crowded places. All of a sudden, these places weren’t safe. I knew it was just old “stuff” coming out of my hips, but I honored it if I could. I wasn’t about to do anything to cause this “stuff” to come up. I’ve been there, done that and got the Yoga mat to prove it.
The Christmas season was suddenly cold, dark, lonely… and…
NO. I vowed to myself I would not go there. No matter what I would feel this holiday I would not believe the feelings. They were old and I knew they were old. And they weren’t real. And I was going to find some way to get through this, and once through, I would help other people get through.
And Oprah would help me do it.
That was my thinking. That was how I kept upbeat. This was my story, the unbelievable story of a lifetime, and I was in the middle of it, hoping to somehow get to the last page where everything is A O K and hunky-dory again.
Little did I know I was writing WAR AND PEACE.
But the task before me was Christmas. Thanksgiving had brought my “STUFF” back after I “Yogacized” it out of me with BABY KEN. Christmas could push me into the Abyss.
That place of no return.
Where the Dark Man wins,
…and the little lost child never stops crying.
“God rest ye, Merry Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay…”
December 15, 2009
THE TALE #30
THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST
Christmas traditionally is a time for families to get together, celebrate, exchange presents and have a Merry good time.
I was terrified.
There was something inside me. Something causing me to cramp up. Something causing me to shake, causing me to be bizarrely paranoid, and something TALKING to me…
And it wasn’t saying “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”
No, it certainly wasn’t.
Now truth be told, I really wasn’t terrified. But that part of me, that Baby Ken part of me, WAS terrified, frightened, ready to run, or just plain frozen by the Holiday chill, the Holiday fear. As I write this six years later, I have goose pimples appearing down my arms, and it feels like the hair is standing up on the back of my neck.
“Please no, I can’t go back there now….”
I went through my days before Xmas in solitude. I worked, pretending I was Ok, then I would come home, build a fire in the fireplace, do my daily yoga practice where I would bounce around and then I would make a hot bath and just sit in the tub. Sometimes I would spontaneously break into tears, other times I would just sit numbly hot in the tub, trying not to think, yet so curiously confused about what was happening in my body.
Something about the holiday was bringing it up, or was it the cold? Did something happen to me in the cold?
As I write this tonight, I remember a memory I remembered back then which I think I have somehow tucked away.
We used to go ice skating down by the Mill Pond in Yorktown Heights when I was young. I wasn’t a good skater but I loved being down on the ice at night. It was cool, almost magical, skating on the pond under the winter stars. The air was crisp and I felt so alive. We would put on our skates down by the PINE FOREST there….
“NO NO NO NO NO! Please I don’t want to know. NO not now! Not now, it’s over! It’s over!”
On one wintry night, before Xmas 2003, as I sat in a hot bathtub, being numb, something hit me, no not physically, just a thought, a memory, but the memory was so thick with pain and poison my body started to shiver as I lay in the hot soapy water.
It was THE PINE FOREST. Something happened to me in that PINE FOREST. Something so not good, so not fun, so mind numbingly nasty that I could barely make it out on the outer edges of my consciousness. And it wasn’t just the Pine Forest, it was all through the woods there. I was running, frightened, terrified…
...of the DARK MAN.
I wept, while I shivered in the hot soapy brine.
What exactly happened, I couldn’t discern. But it was clear something did happen.
Wow! How’s that for a Christmas present?
…and this was just the beginning of my People in my Hips Yuletide celebration.
December 15, 2009
THE TALE #31
Every year my family spends Christmas Eve at my mother's house. It not much of an event for we don't exchange gifts (except for the Macy's gift card I always get my mother) and there is no special dinner there - my Mom usually just puts out cold cuts and rolls - but that Xmas, my first "People in my Hips" Christmas was DANGEROUS. Why it was DANGEROUS I have no idea, but I knew it would be - the past, my dark past was so connected to the present then, I was fearful as to what might happen on that oh so special and SILENT NIGHT.
I wandered into Macy's in the Jefferson Valley shopping mall. It was two hours before I was to arrive at my mother's house 3 miles away. I needed to get her gift card before Macy's closed, and I needed to walk and walk and walk.
It was upon me, the fear, the anxiety, I didn't know what it was but it was with me.
I picked out a card and told the cashier I needed $100 on it and that it was for my mother. I always talk too much to cashiers. I didn't need to talk. I needed to move.
I bought it and rushed out.
I drove down to Barnes and Noble - I would look at books and eat a big chocolate chip cookie - maybe it would go away - I could distract it and stuff it down with sugar. I didn't want to bring it with me to Mom's, I mean I was bringing a hundred dollar gift card. That was enough. I didn't need to bring...
... THE FEAR.
"This is old stuff. This is not the present moment. This is coming out of my hips!"
Books. Books. Books.
"Oh no not the self help section. No, Ken distract yourself, distract yourself!!!"
Books on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - only one but yes my symptoms are sort of the same but I didn't go to war or get in a car accident. Or did I?
"Ken GO AND EAT THE COOKIE! GO AND EAT THAT GOD DAMMED SO DELICIOUSLY SWEET COOKIE. IT WILL SAVE YOU SAVE YOU, SAVE YOU FROM THE FEAR!!!!!"
I got a cookie. And a latte with chocolate syrup in it. I sat.
I was scared but it was from THE PAST. It was old yet it felt so real.
It was time to go to Mom's.
Another cookie? No.
Suck it up, Ken. Suck it up.
It is time to pretend.
Pretend that everything is OK.
I hate the holidays.
December 22, 2009
THE TALE #32
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS...
As I drove up the Taconic State Parkway to Mom’s for Christmas eve, I was beyond nervous. It was like I was returning to the scene of a crime.
Traditionally, when I visited Mom on the Holidays, I would go in and out of the refrigerator and pick at whatever was inside. I could always find Breyer’s Light and Lively Butter Pecan Ice Milk. Why my mother ate this I have no idea, but when I arrived almost immediately, I would pick and pick and pick at this hideous frozen delight.
Obviously, my picking was a way to stave off the bad feelings that had always been under my skin. This time, those feelings, were above ground, hanging out on my shoulder like a dead squid, or hiding like a leech on my neck, ready to scream BLOODY MURDER at any second, at any second.
DAMN, I was so scared. My secret could be revealed. That I am like her x-husband. The man she watched check himself into St. Vincent’s Psychiatric Hospital in Harrison, NY in the late 1960’s where he was to receive SHOCK THERAPY.
“I’m BACK!! HERE’S HENRY!”
My father was dead, yet I felt like I was that crazy man returning to his family. The crazy guy who couldn’t control his feelings. The Crazy-Oh-So-Loving-After-He-Was-Oh-So-Bad father returning to the fold.
I parked my Green Honda Civic in front. I couldn’t park in the driveway. What if I got blocked in? What if I couldn’t escape? What if my feelings took over and they all saw how fucked up and scared I was….
I needed an escape route.
As I walked down the cement walkway to the front door to Mom’s Christmas Paradise, my head started to twitch side to side.
STOP IT! STOP IT! NOT NOW.
I rang the doorbell.
My eyes filled with ALMOST TEARS.
The door opened. Mom. She looked good.
The whole crew was there - my step-father Paul, my brother Mike, my sister Marge, my sister Cathy and Paul’s very strange son Paul with his wife.
It was party time.
I stepped in greeted everyone. All was fine.
DON’T STAY LONG, KEN. IT IS NOT SAFE! DON’T LINGER!
The Christmas Eve table was set. Paper plates with plastic utensil, macaroni salad, sweet gerkins, mustard, Miracle whip, buns and cold cuts.
Where the hell are the SEVEN FISHES? My mother, God love her, just doesn’t know from food.
I walked to the refrigerator and opened the freezer and pulled out the Breyer’s Butter Pecan. Here we go!
It was so nice to see everyone… but underneath it all, in me, there was this little voice, maybe Baby Ken, I am not sure, but he/she/it kept repeating from some dark corner of my mind
“YOU BETTER GET OUT OF HERE! Don’t linger. They’ll know!”
What will they know? THAT I AM GOING CRAZY? That I can’t control my body at times, and that SOME KID PART OF ME TALKS TO ME ALL THE TIME?
Or was it something else that they might find out? Something else many many many years ago that I had to keep a secret, and if I didn’t something something something so bad so heinous so so so horrific would have happened to me and to maybe everyone that I loved….
I sat with Step-Father Paul on the couch. And old 1950’s war movie was playing on the TV. Paul wasn’t much of a talker, a brave and wonderful man, but not much of a talker, and at the time, neither was I, so I just stared at the TV pretending to be interested.
Potato chips and dip.
EAT IT KEN. NOW! YOU WILL FEEL BETTER.
My Brother Mike came over. We chatted. He kinda half knew what was going on with me, but not really but I could tell he was concerned. He is an awesome man. I am blessed to have him as a brother. I told him I was fine. Good. All good.
GET OUT OF HERE! NOW! GET OUT!
SOMEONE IS COMING and it is NOT ST. NICK!
Mom sat next to Mike and started complaining about her camera which wasn’t working right. Mike tried to help.
I got up and went to the refrigerator. I needed more BUTTER PECAN. BREYER’s BUTTER PECAN ICE MILK - LOW IN FAT, HIGH IN SUGAR. The sugar will save me.
Time for dinner, or cold cuts, or Christmas Eve snack or whatever you want to call it. I sat down with a Ginger ale. My sister Margie asked me how I was doing?
“I am fine. All good. Just good.”
Get some cold cuts now and shove them down your throat, Ken. Eat. Eat. STUFF IT DOWN.
I started to move funny. My hands were filled with energy. I was unsettled.
BUT DON’T LET THEM SEE. NO, DON’T LET THEM SEE!
YOU ARE NOT A CRAZY MAN!
Bad Entemanns Chocolate Cake for desert.
I had three pieces.
I just kept picking.
Go Go Go Go Go GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!
GO GO GO!!!
“MOM, I gotta go. Here’s a present for you. Nothing new, but I think you will like it."
“Oh my Macy’s card. Thank you. HOW DID YOU KNOW?” she said with a wink.
THE FEELING was coming upon me. That scared little boy feeling. That "I don’t have any control here" feeling.
Oh shit I have to get out now!!!!
“Ok it was great seeing you all. Love you. Merry Christmas!”
I closed the front door behind me and ran to my car. I zigged up the path. It was up. It was happening.
The FEELING was upon….me.
I quickly climbed into my Green Honda Civic and my body started to fling itself about the car like I was on a enclosed trampoline. As I bounced around, my head shook violently from side to side. It was insane. Nuts. Crazy. What was going on in me!
HELP ME PLEASE MOMMY HELP ME PLEASE MOMMY MOMMY PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE!
The bouncing subsided. I sat there in the freezing cold car stunned, weeping softly.
All I wanted for Christmas was my life back…
December 24, 2009
It is Christmas eve 2009. It has been exactly 3 years since I had my “THERAPEUTIC BURP” that literally cured me of The People in my Hips.
I didn’t think about it until I started writing this blog just now.
Three years of People in the Hips FREE-NESS. It is probably the best Christmas present I could ever ask for.
This past Tuesday I decided I would start training my leg rigorously to help with a slight knee tracking problem I experience with my left knee. For the first time in ages I used the leg press machine at the Gym to specifically strengthen one of the muscles in my left quad to help the knee perform correctly. I didn’t use too much weight, I thought, but last night I started to feel pain in my right right hip similar to pain that I had experienced during my People in my Hips sojourn. I ignored it. This morning I woke up and it really HURT.
I got up, took a hot bath, grabbed my styrofoam roller and rolled out on my quads, back, hips and solar plexus and I am feeling much better.
But THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS DEMON from the past, reared it’s ugly head.
No, my condition is not re-manifesting. I am experiencing some over use tightness from my new leg training. But for a second or two this morning I was scared. Scared that I would soon be bouncing into that familiar land where my past becomes my present and where my hips spass out. I mean it is CHRISTMAS EVE, and CHRISTMAS EVE is loaded, a fiery smoking gun from my past filled with….terror. And even now, so many years later, I am not totally sure what that Christmas terror is or was.
DECK THE HALLS WITH BOUGHS OF HOLLY, FA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!
But there is one thing I am sure of. This Christmas, or any Christmas The People in my Hips will not be sliding down my chimney. My condition, whatever you may want to call it, is a manifestation of the past coming forward and living in the present in my mind and body, and I know how to keep it in the past, how to deal with energy issues in my body, how to take care of myself physically, and ultimately, how NOT to give OLD feelings from the past a FORUM to speak in the present. For the most part, I know what an OLD feeling is, and how to let it go. It took me years to figure it out but I have a strategy. If THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS appeared wrapped up under my Christmas tree, I would open the "PRESENT", and then throw that old "PRESENT" away.
My ultimate defense/offense against The People in my Hips is the belief that I CAN HANDLE IT. Deep in the core of my being, that part of me that knows, my soul, that little voice inside, will always be there to help me, guide me and carry me through any and all adversity. And this belief that I CAN HANDLE IT doesn’t just apply to my PTSD (or whatever I had,) it applies everywhere, to my relationships, my career, and to everything I do.
So I embrace my tight hip today as a Christmas card reminding me of my journey and my possibilities.
We have all had a journey fraught with incredible challenges… it is called LIFE. And after we overcome each new challenge, we become a little stronger, a little wiser, a little less fearful and a little more of who we really are.
Life’s challenges are what lead one to ENLIGHTENMENT. It is not the meditation or the Yoga, or this week’s self help book that will get you there.
Stepping up to LIFE will.
LIFE is the ultimate GURU.
So on this Christmas Eve 2009, three years to the day after I cured myself of THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS, I celebrate LIFE - the good, the bad and the ugly, and I am so grateful to be here on this planet with my friends and family, doing what I do and living the wonderful life that I live.
Have the most amazing holiday. Thanks for reading this and for following my story.
Please take a moment this holiday time to celebrate your journey and all of who you really are.
I wish you all good things, and a happy, healthy New Year.
December 26, 2009
IT'S IN U!
Often we will look outside ourselves for solutions to life's most perplexing problems - and I am a big proponent of this: I am a informational pack rat- but sometimes after searching the world wide web over, and after connecting with EXPERTS, we are still stumped.
That was my situation with THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS. I looked, I searched, I connected to so many professionals, yet NO ONE really knew what was going on with me. This smacking of my head against a brick wall was the best thing that ever happened to me for it forced me to look within for answers, to connect with my intuition, my soul. And as I went inside, solutions emerged, intuitive connections occurred by simply following my gut. And my gut, my soul, my ME-ness, or if you will, my GOD-ness, led me to a cure for my crazy condition.
So when all else fails, or even BEFORE all else fails, go inside, connect with the YOU that knows, follow your intuitive flashes and BELIEVE that you can discover or uncover a solution to your challenges. The answer may not look like you think it should, which is one of the reasons the answer is the answer - it is outside of how you normally think.
When challenged, go inside, ask, listen, follow.
You will be amazed at the results.
December 31, 2009
THE TALE #33
NEW YEAR'S RECKONING
I have always loved the week between Christmas and New Years. I'm always off. The prelude to Christmas is over and it is a great time to meet friends and have some fun.
Christmas week 2003, was so not fun.
After my Christmas eve family-let’s-bring-up-the-old-stuff-car-BOUNCEFEST I was not in a good way. I awoke on Christmas morning tight as a drum and feeling melancholy.
Why was this happening to me? And why can’t I get this craziness OUT of my body? And ultimately, WHY is this happening to me? Why? What is the big picture here? Why am I cursed with THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS?
One of the things I have learned in my OH TOO MANY odd years of hanging out on this planet is that if you ask a stupid question you will get a stupid answer. Why am I cursed with THE PEOPLE IN MY HIPS? Who said it was a curse? Now, six years later, to be honest, it was a blessing. As I have mentioned all too many times in this blog, I have transformed because of this experience. I am really happy 90% of the time. That’s a good percentage. I like it. 90% is cool. Before The People in my Hips I think my percentage was about 50% - I tortured myself with all of these silly things outside of myself. “Why aren’t I this and Why aren’t I that?” But after I had to deal with a TON of wild and crazy stuff inside, the outside stuff is just plain silly most of the time. But 6 years ago, I WAS TORTURED, rightfully so. I had PEOPLE popping out of my hips.
The Monday night after Christmas, I was invited by my friend Danielle to a little Holiday Soiree in the city. I needed a drink and I needed to get out bad, out in the world and out of my body. I took the train into Manhattan and walked up to a little bar off Park Avenue in the low 50’s called I believe THE RED LOUNGE. It was a really fun little bar located next to some big hotel, and the bar was entirely decorated in red - red banquets, elegant red velvet curtains, and red tables. It was perfect. It was like a cheesy speakeasy from the 1920’s.
When I arrived, Daniele and her party pals had not arrived yet, so I sat at the bar and ordered a glass of red (of course.) I was a little nervous for this was the first time since THE PEEPS that I was socializing. Part of me hoped that the alcohol and the partying would actually be good for me.
The wine tasted great. Like an old friend, relaxed, easy to be with, familiar.
Oh god, I want all this hip stuff to GO AWAY.
Danielle arrived about 15 minutes later. She was a gorgeous African American woman, about 5’4”, with an amazing body. When she walked into a room, heads turned. She sat at the bar, and I bought her a drink.
“Oh Ken, it is so good to see you.” she sighed. “You know, you are one of my closest and most special friends. I hope you know that. I hope you know how amazing you are.
“Thank you. Same back to you.” I replied with a smile.
“So how have you been? What is going on? It has been a long time. I have had such problems with Men, or should I say “Little boys”. I have given up my "little boys" for the New Year until they can learn how to serve their Goddess.”
“Good for you!” I smiled. “I wish I could give up my little boy.” (Wink Wink to Baby Ken.)
“No, you are a true man. You speak it like it is. That is what I love about you. I can always talk with you." She moved in seductively. “I need to be with a True man.”
My mind raced. Danielle and I had dated briefly years ago and she was an amazing woman, and the thought of possible hooking up with her again even for just one night was quite exciting…. But what about the PEEPS?
I smiled. “Danielle, you are the greatest.”
“You too, Ken.” There was a long, oh so almost pregnant pause.
A scream from the doorway. It was Carrie, one of Danielle’s party guests. A tall, wirey African American woman with a short almost boyish afro.
“Carrie! So good to see you, girlfriend!”
They exchanged niceties, introduced me and then we moved to one of the banqueted areas with the larger tables.
Moments later, the guests arrived.
And what a gathering it was! We drank and laughed, and Danielle flirted with me again and again by calling me “the one true man left on the face of this planet.” I was getting very tipsy and very interested.
Ken, what about Baby Ken?
Stop it! It is time to have fun.
So you want to bring in Danielle now and make this a threesome?
Be careful. Baby Ken is near.
Get the hell out of here. Now. Get out! I want my life back and tonight I am going to have fun! It has been way too long.
Post Yuletide merriment.
Fun, at last.
It was 12:45 a.m. The party was shifting. Some friends were heading home, others were going elsewhere. Danielle sat cuddled up by my side on the banquet.
“Wanna go somewhere fun?” she whispered.
“Sure. I would love to.” My left hip quivered.
“Where would you like to go?” she smiled.
“Anywhere you want to go.” my left leg shook under the table.
“Ok, let’s call a cab.” She got up and took my hand… and as I tried to stand….
MY ENTIRE LEFT SIDE CRAMPED UP!
“AHHHHHHH!” It hurt even thru the alcohol.
“Are you alright?” Danielle screamed.
“Yes, Yes, I am fine.” I went to get up again and I screamed.
Oh Fuck Fuck Fuck. The People in my Hips no not now please not now I wanna have some fun I wanna have some fun.
“I gotta sit for a while. It is my hip. It is uh in a spasm.”
My head started to shake lightly side to side – I was scared and I had no idea what I was scared of. It wasn’t Danielle. It was safe there. It was that old thing....
that God Damn Fucking old thing arising out of the ASHES of my PAST to RUIN MY FUCKING LIFE!
I started to get nauseous. I looked at the clock. It was almost 1 a.m. I could make a 1:30 a.m. train back to Goldens Bridge. To my safe little cabin in the woods where I could cry and cry and cry and cry and sit in a hot tub until the pain subsided. Until The PEEPS went away – back into the box of my subconscious, where I can lock them away for another day or two or hopefully more…. Oh please. I want to have some fun.
I WANNA HAVE FUN…
We hobbled out to the street. It was icy cold. We kissed goodbye.
“You will be fine, Ken. You are the last true man. You will be fine.”
“I am sure I will, Danielle. You are the best. Let’s do lunch sometime.”
And I got in the cab and drove away.
LET’S DO LUNCH SOMETIME?
It was time.
The New Year.
This could not go on...
I needed to get some help.
January 2, 2010
THE TALE #34
I called Judy Stern the next day. She was an Alexander Technique bodywork person who worked in the quaint little town of Rye in Westchester County.
The Alexander Technique, in a nutshell, is a mind body system of postural alignment. I had studied it briefly in college and then many years later I worked one on one with an Alexander Technique facilitator once a week for about a year. It was a gentle and effective way to release tension in the body.
I arrived at Judy's office in Rye feeling, as ever, scared. My hip was a mess and I knew as soon as we started "doing work" my darling hip would erupt.
Here goes nothing!
Judy opened her office door and invited me in. She had this almost God like sense of serenity about her. It was safe here.
I tried to describe to Judy what was going on with me, but at the time I didn't really know what was going on with me so I just explained that I was cramping up from emotion in my body. She smiled a gentle smile and said "OK, let's put you on the table."
An Alexander "Table Lesson" is quite a remarkable thing when facilitated by a Godess of Serenity like Judy. I lay down on a rose colored massage table.
"Ken, I just want you to relax. You have done this before so you know how it works. Just relax."
Judy placed her hands on my shoulder, relaxing my shoulders and my head started to vibrate slightly. I could feel THE FEELING coming.
Judy moved about my body, placing her hands and giving me "Direction". My head continued to vibrate slightly.
Then she cradled my head with her hands and lifted my head gently lengthening my spine.
THE FEELING arose out of somewhere, my left leg kicked up into the air and I started to sob softly, as in the past, feeling totally disconnected to the "back story" of the emotion.
"Here it is." I mumbled through my tears.
"I can see that." Judy was unphased, fascinated.
She walked down to the other end of the massage table and gently lifted both my legs.
"Careful I don't kick you."
"Don't worry, I am fine. Just breathe.
I took a deep breath. Judy gently gave direction to my legs AND THE EMOTION AROSE AGAIN. Soft tears of childhood loss fell furiously down the side of my face.
OH NO! WHY WON'T YOU GO AWAY! Please LEAVE ME ALONE.
"Are you alright?" Judy asked.
"Yes, I am fine but it's really here- the emotion. It is trapped somewhere inside me."
"I can see that."
"What is this? What CAN I DO?"
The FEELING arose as Judy again pressed on my shoulders.
"I am not sure."
So I cried and cried, softly, and sometimes furiously, for the next half hour. Judy's gentle touch was safe, so safe, and then in a moment, fraught with fear. She was leading me, giving me direction to release.
AND MY BODY WAS A LIVE WIRE!!!
We finished. Judy helped me off the the massage table. I sat by her desk emotionally wasted. There was a burning sensation in my left hip flexor.
"So a lot of emotion, huh?"
"Yes." she replied softly.
"What can I do to get it out?"
"I don't know."
There was a long almost melancholic pause.
"I have an associate who does deep tissue body work. He may be able to help. This is new to me. Of course, you can see me again, but you might want to see him. His office is in Manhattan."
She gave me his name and number, I thanked her and I left.
I walked out into the damp winter air. The town of Rye was quiet now. The Soccer Moms were out taking their kids to practice and their husbands were still at work. It was cold, a dark cold that chilled the insides of your bones. My answer wasn't here. Judy thought my answer might lie with The Bodywork man in the Big City, but I knew in the heart of my heart...
... that my answer was somewhere deep within me.
January 7, 2010
THE TALE #35
THE BODY PSYCHOLOGIST
Gil Arati, BODY PSYCHOLOGIST, was a tall, wiry, dark-haired man, with a dark olive complexion. He introduced himself and walked me into his large office/studio that had views looking out over Northern Manhattan. This was the Big City bodywork dude who was going to cure me.
“Let’s start over here on the mat.” Gill said with a sly smile. “So you say you are experiencing a lot of energy in your body?
“I’ll say.” All of a sudden my head twitched side to side. There was something about him that was unsettling, odd. My body didn’t like him. He was creeping me out.
“Ok lets try a roll down.” He said firmly. “Just drop your chin to your chest and roll down. I want to see what is going on here.”
I rolled my spine slowly. As I got to about halfway, my body suddenly shook up and down and I started to hyperventilate slightly.
“HMMMM….” Gil sighed. “When you reach the bottom, roll up very very slowly.”
I reached the floor and then I slowly rolled up. As I reached that same point in the middle of my spine, I started to bounce again, this time more violently.
“Huh?” Gil said. “Now roll up all the way and then down again.”
I rolled and then started rolling down again. This time at that same point in my spine my head started to shake violently side to side like something out of a cartoon.
“Continue down and then roll up again. There’s a lot of energy here. Lots of energy.”
Gil seemed perplexed.
“Yes, there is…. Lots of energy and this is only about 5 on a scale of 1 to 10."
“And you say this started from Yoga?” he questioned.
“Yeah. Yoga. Do you believe it? Next time I need stress relief I’ll work more."
“Can you roll down again?”
This time my entire body bounced as if I was on a bouncing trampoline in an earthquake.
“I’ve never seen this.” Gil said semi-shocked.
“This is nothing. You should see me on a good day.
“Really?” He was totally perplexed. “Ok roll up. Now I am just going to touch some points on your body. How does this feel?”
He touched a point on my back. My right arm leaped out to the side and I started to breathe heavily.
“Huh?” he murmured. How does this feel?”
He touched a point in my lower back. My head vibrated side to side.
He looked at me for a long very uncomfortable moment.
“OK……Let’s have a seat.”
I sat on a small black couch off from the matted area. He sat across from me on another small black couch.
“So have you ever considered neuroleptic drugs?” he asked softly.
What the hell was he talking about? I am not crazy. I am not my father. There will be no shock therapy on my watch. No F-ing way!
“No. Neuroleptic Drugs shrink the brains of monkeys.” I replied. “My brain is small enough now.”
“Uh huh. Hmmmm.” He stared at me again for another long uncomfortable moment. “What is that I see in your eyes? Is it anger?”
WHAT THE HELL IS HE TALKING ABOUT?
“No, there is no anger in my eyes. I have people in my hips.” I replied defiantly.
“It seems like there is something behind your eyes that is angry. What is it?”
WHAT THE HELL IS HE TALKING ABOUT?
“There is nothing angry behind my eyes.” I whispered hoarsely. “Behind my eyes is my shrunken Monkey brain.”
“That’s funny.” He laughed.
“I’m being serious.” I stared at him.
He looked down and then looked up again into my eyes. I stared back. He stared even deeper into my eyes. My eyes locked back in the ultimate status battle. I would not look away. There was no ANGER in here. No F-ing Anger!
“I still say I see something behind your eyes.”
“Well, you must be hallucinating?” I fired back. “Maybe you should prescribe yourself some neuroleptics.”
He smiled again oh-so slyly.
“Maybe I should.”
There was a long pregnant pause.
“So can you help me?” I asked.
“I think I can.” He paused again, and then smiling again oh-so slyly… “But it is going to require us to get together and do some very challenging work.”
“I’m up for it. Are you?” I smiled back.
“I see anger in there.” he stated bluntly.
WOULD YOU JUST GET OFF THIS!
“I have no anger in my eyes. If there anger anywhere, it is in my hips. I have god-damn fucking people in my hips, but there is no, I repeat no, anger in my eyes.”
He stared, paused for a bout 20 seconds and said, “I see. So why don’t we set up a time for our first real session and we will take it from there?”
I was so mad. I came for his help to get this stuff out of my hips and here he is accusing me of having ANGER in my eyes. If there was any anger in my eyes it was created by our interaction.
“Sure. Let’s set up a session.”
So we set up an appointment for the next week, but I called him the next day…. It went like this:
MESSAGE MACHINE: Hello, this is Gil Aratz. Please leave a message when you hear the tone.
“Hi Gil this is Ken Wolf. I am calling today cancel our appointment.”
Tears started to arise in me, a waterfall of emotion…
“I want to be very clear with you. There is no anger in my eyes. There is no anger in my eyes.”
THAT GOD-DAMNED BASTARD.
“Someone once said that “The eyes are the windows to the soul.”
My body started to shake as salty tears of forgotten pain fell on the phone.
“Well, my soul is not angry. My soul is not angry! My soul is loving and strong. It is the one part of me that has kept me going, kept me alive through this process of trying to cure myself.” My whole body started to tremble.
“My soul is all I have. And it is not angry. It is my best and truest friend. So I am cancelling our session next week and forever. What you saw in my eyes must have been your reflection.”
I hung up slowly.
I could sense a presence in my left hip, scared, so so scared, ...Baby Ken.
And in my right hip, another presence, a foggy memory of my distant past, arising, growing somehow out of my body. It had no name, yet I knew what it was.
It was Evil.
January 10, 2010
THE TALE #36
EXPLORING TRAUMA IN THE BODY
Here is a video journal from a good day when the People in my Hips first manifested. I talk about my work with Douglass where we discovered one specific place in my body (a small part of my hip flexors) that literally was STORING trauma energy and causing my PTSD shaking symptoms. I am a Yoga scientist here. I love it.
January 11, 2010
THE TALE #37
THE TRAUMA HEALING THERAPIST
Yanni Dilosky was a TRAUMA HEALING THERAPIST visiting from Germany. He was an advocate of the TAMING THE TIGER method. I was referred to him by one of my Yoga teacher training comrades.
Now the theraputic metaphor from The TAMING the TIGER method was this: In nature let’s say when a tiger is chasing an antelope and the antelope manages to get away, the antelope releases its traumatic stress by shaking it’s entire body for about 30 seconds. At the end of this shaking session, the antelope is stress-free, in a new moment in now having no residual fear of the tiger and it can go about its business. Granted I was a bit skeptical about this method, for I had already been shaking for 4 months and my TIGER still had its teeth fully embedded in my ass and it wasn’t letting go.
Yanni was staying with a fellow Trauma healing therapist in an apartment on 46th St. between 8th and 9th Ave in Manhattan. It was a cold January day when I journeyed down to the Big City again to meet another variety of therapist. As always, I was nervous, and scared. What if doing this therapy with Yanni brings my stuff up and I can’t get out of it. What if it takes over? How will I make a living? How will I survive? ….. And what if “Baby Ken” takes over?
Now that is scary.
It was an old building about halfway down the block right next to Private Eyes, a gentleman’s club, where strippers hang out. I never understood that gentleman’s club metaphor. Private Eyes was a strip club. There was nothing gentlemanly about it.
I rang the bell for 14C and I was buzzed in. I took the elevator up. Oh no, here we go again.
Yanni was a heavyset light haired man with a thick German accent. He was about 28 and he was wearing a gray Led Zeplin teeshirt and a frayed vest. He invited me in. It was a studio apartment with one large window with three panes looking north. The furniture was old, worn and there was a slight dusky smell of cigarettes.
“So I was referred to you by one of my Yoga associates. I am having strange crazy things happen in my body. I am bouncing, cramping up, and I cry a lot. It is all connected to my childhood somehow or events that I have forgotten in my childhood.” He was staring at me.
“Yes, I understand. We don’t need too talk to much.” He said flatly. “I am a student of Peter Levine, and I have worked with him at many of his seminars and weekend gatherings. His therapy is a little different. I am just visiting here and I am going back to Germany to work with him for a week long intensive.
WELL GOOD FOR YOU… I wanted to say.
“So this is what I want you to do.” He continued. “Find some space in this room where you feel safe, and then tell me where you want me to be.”
“Experience the room from a safe perspective. And tell me where I can be that it is safe for you.”
He seemed so serious. What the heck was he talking about?
“I’m having a hard time here.”
“This is what I mean.” He said calmly. “Are you safe in front of the window, or are you safe under that table? Find out. And then tell me where I should go - behind you, to the left to the right?”
“OK.” I replied.
I walked around the room trying to FEEL where I was safest. It was so bizarre. I think I would have been safer down at Private Eyes getting a lap dance. This was very odd.
“Ok. I am pretty safe here.” I said crouching by the couch.
“And where shall I go?” Yanni piped in.
"You need to go over there and put the lampshade on your head!" - I wanted to say, but instead I said, "Why don’t you go over there in the corner by the door.”
He walked over by the door near the corner and looking away from me he said, “Do you feel safe now?”
“Yes, sort of. “ I replied.
“Ok. Very well done.” He smiled a very Germanic smile. “Now lift your arms and start moving them in space. What do you sense? What do you feel?”
“I sense that I am self-conscious and I feel like a jerk.”
What the hell is he doing? "MOVE MY ARMS IN SPACE? This is therapy?
“Good!” he responded enthusiastically. “Let me know if your hands tingle. When hands tingle often that is a sign that trauma is being released.”
“When my hands tingle that is a sign that trauma is being released?” I repeated back.
“Yes, they tingle and then poof the trauma energy is released.”
“Just like that?” I was so confused.
“Yes,” he said. “Just like that.”
“And what happens when I click my ruby slippers together 3 times?”
“I don’t understand.” Now he was confused.
“It's an American Pop culture reference. A quote from The Wizard of Oz.”
THE ROOM STARTED TO SWERVE!
ALL OF A SUDDEN THE FEELING WAS UPON ME.
Like a cobra attacking it’s prey THE FEELING was there so fast so strong so present and so past.
I started to shake a bit, and tears welled up in my eyes. I started to see vague images and I could feel a tingle in my left hip. Damn, I was scared so crazy scared again out of nowhere.
“WHOA! SHIT! I am not feeling safe. Not safe at all!” I yelled.
“What do you see?” He yelled back. “What do you feel? FOLLOW IT! FOLLOW IT!”
The room started to spin. Yanni stood in the corner not really looking at me but somehow listening and sensing what was going on with me. The emotions started to move and I was just standing there, not doing Yoga, not even thinking about the past but stuff memories ideas history my past my lost past my who I was that I forgot was somehow coming back in this dirty little apartment on 46th St.
Then I saw something.
“We have to STOP! NOW. PLEASE!”
I folded forward almost hyperventilating with fear.
There was an incredibly long, oh so pregnant till the end of time pause.
Yanni touched my shoulder. “Are you alright?”
“Yes.” I rolled my body up to standing.
“What did you see?” Yanni whispered compassionately.
Again, that incredibly long, pregnant till the end of time pause.
“I saw my grandfather.” Tears fell from my eyes. “Only he was younger, in his thirties, dressed funny, something was happening… it was bad, and he wasn’t chasing us with his dentures.”
(I told the tale of Grampa and his dentures in an earlier blog post.)
Yanni stood, looking at me.
“How could I see my grandfather in his thirties?” I continued. “I wasn’t alive yet.”
He looked at me softly, smiled and said,
“There are more things in heaven and earth, then are dreamt in our philosophy. Sometimes memories are passed down through our DNA.”
Grampa was back.
And his dentures now were firmly embedded in my ASS.
INSIGHT #7 - LOOKING AT FEAR
Even if you are frightened, you can stare fear in the face, for a moment, and then look away. And each time you look into fear's eyes, each time you stand up, each time you show up as who you really are, making a commitment to embrace/look at your fear just for a moment, your fear will shrink. Slowly dripping/melting it's way down the drain.
Now don't HUG fear, like I did when The People in my Hips first manifested. My fear was too big to hug and it ate me up, traumatized my nervous system, causing my muscles to cramp up and my body to shake relentlessly. I believed the myth of psychology "If you remember/embrace the OLD STUFF, you will heal." It didn't work that way with me. It made me sick, or rather my body sick. My nervous system was overloaded with trauma energy from a wild childhood of forgotten abuse. I almost lost everything, my health, my mind, my life.
But that little part of me deep inside, call it that little voice, intuition, my true self, or call it my soul, but that little part of me deep inside whispered to me "Keep going! You will be Ok. Yes, this is crazy, but you can overcome...you can persevere, you can find a way back, out of the fear, out of the past, to the present moment, now, here, alive, complete, ...whole."
Thank God, I listened.
I looked it in the face, then looked away, everyday. And one day, I solved it, or it solve itself through me or my soul led me to the proper place and time to see understand experience and... TRANSFORM.
Now I am simply MORE ME.
I am so proud of my process of exorcising The People in my Hips from my mind/body. It wasn't easy, as you have and will see on the pages of this blog.
But now I am MORE ME. And I am actually grateful I took the journey for our darkest days bring our future light.
And it is bright now.
No matter what my outside circumstances might be, I am 90% of the time joyous, thankful and simply in awe of this grand life we live....thanks to FEAR.
Make friends with it. Softly, gently, safely.
January 28, 2010
THE TALE #38 - The Monster Within!
How can you live your life when at a moment’s notice you channel in random abuse from a forgotten past?
It was a definitely a challenge. Oy!
After Yanni, I was frustrated because our little TRAUMA HEALING ADVENTURE did nothing but bring more stuff up for me. The mystery of my Grandfather.... How could I see my Grandfather when he was in his thirties? I was far from being born. Was that a memory I experienced with trauma healer therapist Yanni or a hallucination? And what could it mean? Why did I SEE that? Was it my unconscious mind telling me something or what? Jeez, this is like Twilight Zone material.
I decided to bag the therapists and work with Douglass and create my own program of discovery.
No one knew what was going on with me, and the more I worked with people the more confusing it was. My answer lie in following my intuition, following my gut, for the answer to my dilemma was a dilemma, unknown, a big f-ing question mark.
So I worked with Douglass as much as possible. The answer lie in my body. We would explore with Yoga. We would find a solution.
Now I know this sounds crazy. Technically, you could say I had PTSD, and sort of a psychotic break (the talking to Baby Ken part) but what if it wasn’t PTSD, what if it wasn’t a psychotic break, what if it were something else? It began in my body with Yoga, and I was sure the answer lie with my body with Yoga, or at least with bodywork.
So Douglass and I continued our work. I would cry a lot and bounce about. Douglass would watch in quiet amazement. We explored new ways to stretch my hips, using ropes, blocks and various props. One time, we hung ropes from the ceiling and hung my different limbs off the ropes and stretched in crazy and fun ways. I shook, and cried, and moaned and sometimes laughed hysterically but I was determined to cure myself of this wacky condition. So determined. I wanted my life back. I wanted to be in a relationship again without fear of my child self Baby Ken suddenly appearing and mucking things up.
So I worked with Douglass at least once a week, and each night when I came home to my little cabin in the boonies of Northern Westchester I would light a fire in the fireplace, roll out my yoga mat, blocks and strap, and do my crazy bouncing practice. Sometimes it would be uneventful. Other times the shaking and bouncing would be so intense that I would pull out my SONY PD150 video camera and film my bizarre yoga dance.
But every night, I would do my Yoga, hoping to clean out the "samscara", the old stuff, the scars, the lost trauma in my body. Every night like religion. Ultimately motivated by fear, fear that I might never heal.
After my bouncing practice, I would sit in a hot tub often with a glass of wine, trying to relax, trying to not think about it all, hoping it would all go away.
That FEAR, that CRAZY unknown MONSTER deep lost somewhere in my unconscious wasn't going anywhere.
As a matter of fact, it he she them not me please whatever the hell it is, .......was growing.
I could not let it take me down again.