Exaltation signifies a peak experience- functioning at full capacity in an elevated space.
I had my first therapy session this morning. I found a therapist who specializes in TRM- Trauma Resiliency Method. I learned about TRM because of the work I do with emotionally disabled teenagers and took a workshop so I could better serve them. I had no idea I was taking the workshop for me.
On the final day of the class we broke out into triads to practice the final techniques we were taught that morning. Because I played the therapist using TRM in the last practicum, I was elected to play the client in this one. Holy shit.
First of all, TRM is based on Somatic Therapy techniques- using body sensations to release trauma. You begin simply with resourcing positive physical sensations and memories, also grounding techniques such as feet on the floor, butt on a cushion and lastly, with a skilled technician you can move into some really deep cathartic healing. I am simplifying it greatly, suffice to say, it is some deep shit that has helped truly traumatized people and communities heal. I’m all for it.
I loved the workshop and was excited to start weaving it into the poetry and performance work I do with kids.
I knew, the second I was chosen to play the client, however, that something was up.
My body immediately began to shake; my legs, my arms, my hands, and even my head. It was very uncomfortable and embarrassing. I tried my best to hide it, which is what I always do when my body starts shaking in public, surprisingly this happens quite a bit, especially if I feel vulnerable for any reason, or like I have shared too much.
All the practicing therapist had asked me to do was start resourcing a good feeling, so I thought of running the first trail marathon I ever did- when I was flying down that 6 mile switch back and felt the joy of the universe in my bones. You would think this would be a pleasant memory for my body. But NOPE. My body had other plans. The shaking became so uncomfortable I had to get up and move around. I tried jumping jacks. Karate kicks. Nothing worked. I sat back down.
At this point the head of the organization, who was coaching, thank god, stepped in and started guiding me through the sensations in my body. As we broke them down I came to a place where I physically felt myself make a motion like picking up a baby and I found myself saying “I am picking up Baby Me.” and that was when I began to sob like I have never sobbed before in my life. Ugly face snot running sobbing. I could not manage this. I was at the mercy of the release and I had no choice but to go with it. Fighting it was too painful any longer.
The woman came up to me and held me, rocking me, like a mother would.
I have never felt so comforted or nurtured before in my life.
She was the mother I always wanted.
That was when she started explaining to the group what had happened, that I had just released some preverbal trauma from when I was too young to talk. That all the shaking breathing and crying was my body releasing that pain.
It was fucking intense, to say the least.
Afterwards the woman in charge pulled me aside and suggested, gently, that I see someone who specializes in this work. And that was how I met this woman. She came highly recommended. I left feeling exalted and amazed that I never, not once, talked story. None of those women knew about my relationship with my mother or anything that happened to me when I was young. And they never will. And they never need to. The body has an intelligence all it’s own and I suspect it might be a tad bit smarter than my hyper analytical mind.
You can see why I would be a little nervous, perhaps, walking into this first session. I had no idea what my body would reveal.
From the first second I saw my new therapist though, I knew I was in good hands. There was an immediate connection and warmth. I have never felt that with a therapist before. I started by talking about what was up. How since I first spoke with her and made an appointment my life had radically changed. That I was now exploring non-monogamy and polyamory. Which I was nervous to do. Understandably! I was worried she might have judgment. She did not. She pulled out some key phrases I was using to describe myself such as “jealous and weird” or “immature and stupid” and we created characters, parts of myself, that live in me, and take up space.
Sheila is my 18 year old punk rocker. Black hair, blue eyes, nose ring, really cool Dr. Woo tattoos. Ripped Black fFag t-shirt, red plaid mini skirt, black tights and black doc martins. She is rebellious, independent, cool, quick witted, sarcastic, funny, smart, loves music. Sometimes she writes in this blog.
Then there is Cynthia. My 13 year old teenage meth head. She’s the quiet shy sad one that rarely talks but needs so much love. She wears a pink halter top and cut off jean shirts. She is super skinny. Blonde ratty greasy hair. Pock marks all over her body and face.
Oh man, Sophia. She doesn’t make an appearance too often. The other two don’t let her. But she wears long flowing clothes. She is sensual, sexual,and erotic . In her 50’s. Completely in her body and loving it. A natural beauty with long dark hair. Italian woman. She has a supportive strong loving husband with salt and pepper hair who adores the shit out of her and doesn’t care that she has other lovers. They are partners and equals for life.
There is also the teacher. The Facilitator. Wearing glasses and smart outfits. In charge. Confident. Charismatic. Lacking insecurity. Professional. Career woman. Eileen Fischer clothes.
And The mother. Warm loving kind patient generous.
The wife. Not too much to say about her at this moment. She is kind of shut-down.
When we started talking about my body I disassociated immediately. It was hard to stay present. I became light headed and sleepy. I just wanted to lay down or run out of the room and go shopping at J Crew.
She kept grounding me with a lovely round rock she had. I held onto that thing for dear life. Until my hands started to feel like they were going to leave my body. My feet were numb. We resourced my daughter, putting her to bed, the moment when she falls asleep, how this warmth spreads across my chest like a purple and pink weighted blanket and everything is good in the world. We are safe.
From there a sparkler ignited in my upper stomach. Uncomfortable. On top of my head and to the right started to open and felt like things were spilling out. Brain matter and such. I was not feeling safe anymore. I went back to my daughter’s sleeping breath. Warmth. My back and legs felt really grounded against her awesome couch. I think I love that thing. It feels like it is strong enough and big enough to hold and support me.
As I titrated the sparkler it got smaller and stopped burning. It started to nudge me. Under my rib cage. Prodding me. I felt like I was standing on the highest high dive and this anxiety was nudging me to dive when I was not ready. I felt so scared. I kept hearing I am scared. Over and over again. I said it out loud and a sob rolled up and out of me. We went back to my resource. I felt grounded again. My back started to tingle. I took a few deep breaths. Then my head felt light and airy. We focused on the sensation where I was leaking out. It was surprisingly pleasant. It felt like a rainbow was coming out of my head and landing in an elf fairy garden where my daughter was giggling and beckoning me to join her. It was filled with colorful flowers and magnificent butterflies. Unicorns and Pegasus. Forest smells. Pine. Fir. Earth. Listening to a stream gurgling by. So green and fresh. I love it here. My body feels really good here. My head stops ruminating here. I see a golden light in front of my third eye. This is a safe wonderful place. I could stay here all day.
Just as she started bringing me back to end the session- the little dark shard of Fuck you! started poking through my utopian world.
More for that next time.
My body trembled as I left. I kept releasing. I planned on coming home and working but instead went shopping. I decided that I wanted to wear Eileen Fischer clothes all of the time. I have never liked her clothes before. It felt like i had taken a hit of MDMA. I fell in love with people on the street, walking by. I had an unconditional positive regard for all sentient being streaming out of me. I had no judgment. It was exhilarating. I felt real tolerance for others. And more importantly, an incredible amount of tolerance for myself.
In our session I had, at one point, made my arms into a shape like I was holding a basket. I was physicalizing the experience of holding all of me. That the fear and the resource could exist together and I would not be annihilated.
It was intense and wonderful.
If I could bottle that shit up and sell it, I would be a rich woman today. And technically a drug dealer. Most likely. I feel so fucking high and good.