"There's another little chick hatched..." I used to say, as each Pathway Balancing Kinesiology (PBK) student arrived on the morning of a training day. I picked up the phrase from my older sister many years ago. She used to say it as each of my nephews emerged for breakfast. It exemplified the joy of seeing the face of someone that you were delighted to see, as you started a new day together. Later in the training course the students picked up on this phrase as referring to eagles, as they each grew in stature and power on the way to being qualified to help others towards health and growth, with the tools in Pathway Balancing. Just as eagle chicks start life by hatching from an egg, we too sometimes make a fresh start by coming out of our shell. This month's theme among clients has been just that, with varying degrees of stuckness, frustration, inspiration, courage, freedom and strength to take new steps towards a new life.
It's a strange thing to me, that Pathway Balancing is so powerful, transformative and unique, yet remains largely obscure, hidden from the wider world that could benefit from all that PBK offers. There are now seven fully qualified PBK Practitioners, including myself, and we get together once a year as a whole group. Shirley Wilkins, near Grantham, Lincolnshire, became the latest person to complete the training in 2017. The word we Practitioner's use about PBK again and again is "amazing!", because it is. We get it. However while one Practitioner, Stella Brookes in Solihull, Warwickshire is fully booked for four months in advance and has a waiting list of clients, the rest of us still have spaces we'd love to fill. This is the issue with staying in your shell or breaking out of it - a shell can be a safe and nurturing place, but it can also become restrictive and impoverishing. Are you stuck or lacking in some way? Do you have some kind of rigid structure or outward presentation that is now restricting your growth? Are you ready to come out of your shell?
The Hard Shell of Disappointment
In a previous blog, I described the 'onion layers' that we build up over time. These are layers of protection, or bound-up energy, that form during pressurised times or in acute distress. Craniosacral therapy is particularly good at unwinding and dissolving these embodied layers. Finding the fulcrum, or pivot point, that holds these patterns in place is the final release of the root causes of a client's problem. In kinesiology we can ask the body for clues as to the bottom line of a problem. With verbal questioning against muscle tests, a practitioner can track the journey that led to a person withdrawing into their shell. Sometimes this will uncover a memory that has been buried. As the picture comes to the surface, we see the hidden story that was unconsciously running our life. While the memory is buried under layers of tension and cloudy-headedness, we can't get it out of our system, so it keeps producing 'print outs', or a repeat of the pattern. Our innate intelligence is trying to get us to see this unresolved issue so we can transform it and let our energy flow more fruitfully. Our weakness, our obstacles, our problems can now become our strength, our stepping stones and solutions. This process doesn't have to be traumatic or dramatic either and can in fact be very gentle and soft in its release. Let me use an example of my own to show you.
One morning, in that still quiet time before the alarm goes off, I was pondering on the many ways in which my life was currently disappointing me. I really felt the sadness of so much hope and effort coming to almost nothing. As I let the sadness well up, a picture formed in my mind and slowly began to play out a scene in slow motion. I was in the back seat of my parents car and the windscreen wipers were battling against torrential rain. We were stuck in a queue at the traffic lights and my heart is pounding now at the memory of my Dad shouting at Mum to "Get out! Get out of the car!!" She was crying and pleading. We rounded the corner and he stopped the car and shouted at her again to get out and take me too. We were out on the pavement in the pouring rain of a February evening as he drove off. I still remember the pink painted walls of the 'Fox and Hounds' pub on the street corner as Mum grabbed my hand and headed there for shelter. The landlady had jet black hair and was Irish. She made us very welcome and was very kind to Mum. She served me a glass of Guinness and said "Congratulations!" It was my 18th Birthday and it had meant to be a family meal out at a nice restaurant to celebrate. Instead I was soaking wet in a town centre pub with no transport to get home. This simple scene formed my pattern of deep disappointment with people who let me down when my hopes are raised. This experience led me to harden into fierce independence, making sure I had my own money in future, my own means of transport and would never trust anyone to carry out their promises to me again. Not even God.
Rely on Each Other
In my case, this pattern of being let down by the people I needed kept repeating itself, often with drastic consequences. So my hard, defensive, mistrustful, hypervigilant shell was an attempt at avoiding the pain of being let down. Yet still the unresolved pattern of trauma kept 'printing out copies' until I could see it and unravel its source. As the let downs became increasingly severe and painful, my 'shell' finally broke. I could no longer resolve on my own, the crashed, broken results of a life based on trusting the wrong people. AHA!!! That was it!! The WRONG people - not ALL people! The big life lesson, that had slowly been woven into place, was that there were contrasting forms of behaviour in people. When I could no longer sort out the massive mess left by fully trusting my second husband, I had no alternative but to accept help from other people in order to survive the crisis. In time, people came along who supported me in getting out of the mess completely and beginning to rebuild a life on more solid foundations. When I was far enough away from the wreckage of the trauma, I finally learnt the most valuable lesson of them all - that it wasn't all my fault.
I'd grown up with the mistaken belief that if only I could be good enough, and at the same time do whatever it took to sort out the other person, then they would understand and change. It took years of an abusive marriage, hostile separation, three aggressive court cases (and a mad lodger in the house just for good measure!) to make me finally realise that some people never, ever change at all - no matter what I do or don't do. It's not always my responsibilty, it's theirs too. That means I can walk away. I can leave them to their madness and unreliability. I don't have to let unbalanced and unaware people disappoint me anymore. Better still, I can do what it says in the Clearing behind Gateway 35 of the Pathway Balancing Journey 'Having the Freedom to Be the Person You Were Always Meant to Be'. This is because of Step 28 on the Pathway through the Clearing 'Being together in safety and delight because you have learnt, over a long period of time, to enjoy being together with each other and to rely on each other's integrity'. Coming out of your shell is only wise when you know who to trust and who to avoid. As the Book of Proverbs says, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life'. Don't stay in there too long will you? I'm sure there will be lots of people delighted to see you.
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I highly recommend this excellent book, which I read in 2006, on healing embodied trauma.