The pain of healing

My feet are painful right now. Normally, the pain goes away after I wear proper shoes, but this time it seems to be taking forever. I try not to stand on them too long. Both feet now feel like I am stepping on a hose. However, today the pain was less than it was yesterday and yesterday the pain was less than the day before. Last night while lying in bed, I practiced reminding myself that the small tingles and twitches I was experiencing were actually what healing feels like. Each small bit of feeling is a knitting together of the past pain in a healing way. Today, my feet felt even better.

I am reminded of this with Chris. This morning he was slightly spooky and just not himself. He missed choir yesterday by oversleeping. I called him when I got to work to remind him that he was to see the sound therapist this morning and to be on time for his train.  He had forgotten he had an appointment, and so he missed it. He missed the last one, too.

I drove home at lunch, brimming with optimism, empathy and a bottle of vitamin D drops just in case he was feeling SAD (seasonally affected.) From what he was telling me he feels quite bored, restless, and overwhelmed with where he is versus where he wants to be, without really knowing where he wants to be. The gap to him seems large.

Healing is taking place and it feels like pain. This is the time where it is absolutely essential to not add to the pain by feeling pain as a punishment. The pain is telling me that what I am feeling is growth.

The sound shaman as therapist

Chris’s notes from the fourth session

Before we began the session of sound therapy, the shaman asked me how I was doing.

I explained that I had been feverish for a day prior to our meeting. We discussed the implications of this, how this is usually a sign that a change is needed in my behavior towards my body especially. He asked after my family, especially my father and brother, both away at the moment. He said that there was something I could do for my brother, but did not say what, and that I might not want to do this thing for him. These were the things I explored during the therapy, which took on a very concrete path, more understandable and clear than previously.

The shaman had moved his practice to different premises, such that instead of an airy, mystical environment it was now in a more intimate setting, smaller cosy rooms that felt more personable. There was no staring-out-windows-pretending I was a bird. Rather than playing with my surroundings, toying with the possibilities of super-grounded experience, I was able to be practically focused, to take up a larger living space and give full vent to my inner conflicts. My therapy session was like a dialogue, with my emotions expressing themselves as thoughts, which I was able to interpret because of the sounds. I got the vague sense that time was slowed down, and I could hear myself more clearly and understand my emotions better, without the implications of meaning, i.e. feelings of confusion were the “real” me, not some quest of fulfilment.

With the first set of sounds, I felt I could live inside my body with so much space, every nerve and muscle vibrated with the sounds, so that my leg felt like a wooden bat and stretched as long as the ceiling is high. My mind, usually relegated to my head and stuffed into his tiny cubicle, opened the windows on all my body and became clearer and louder. I began to cry at fleeting feelings I had for people I no longer see and some who I still see. I was not confused by fantasies of sex or violence, which I attribute this time to the therapy working, that my body was releasing judgments on these somewhat uncomfortable matters. I had recurring feelings of pain as I thought of my father and of my little brother. I have the sentiment now of guilt about these two people: I have been unwilling to accept my part in our sometimes difficult relationship. I discovered that the pain can only mean one thing: When I am hurt in a relationship the other person is hurt also, which shows affection on their part and not indifference as I often assume. With the sound therapy I can isolate problems and look at them from an exterior point of view.

Concerning how the therapy “works,” I think the success or failure of the therapy is dependent on my state of mind, and just because I wasn’t getting images of sex and violence does not mean that I am somehow “cured” or need to be “cured” of thinking of these things. I am humbled to say I feel as I have no control whatsoever of the images and thoughts that come to me as I lie down at the therapy. If there is any improvement in my well-being as a result of the therapy, well it is hard to say what part I had played in it, only that I can be more or less open in mind towards the work.