I got a massage last month. This was meant to be a splurge to kick off my 2-week vacation in December. I was really looking forward to the spa-like experience, to indulging in some TLC.
I did something unusual in that I allowed for a male masseur. That was a first for me. I was a bit nervous about it for many reasons. I prayed and surrendered that if it wasn’t correct, my path would be adjusted. I didn't get a red light, so I went.
He created a welcoming and lovely environment, and I was proud of myself for working through my nervousness in this area.
I had been doing so well until he focused way too intensively on my neck. I didn’t indicate that I wanted deep tissue, yet that’s what he was doing. Aside from the pain of it, it felt like some buried trauma was being accessed. I would love to say that I spoke up for myself.
After all, isn’t that the best place to do it? He was there to help me. He was a lovely young man who was trying to provide me with a service. Something as simple as saying, “that’s too deep for me,” should have been a no-brainer. And yet.
I couldn’t access my voice because I wasn’t breathing. In fact, I could barely move.
I was stuck in the Freeze of Fight-Flight-Freeze.
And, I was playing the good girl.
I was in a very old pattern of hoping that if I transmitted my discomfort subtly, it would be noticed without my having to say something.
No dice. It was a painful process on both sides of my neck. I was really angry at myself afterward. Not just because I was sore and needed to go to the chiropractor, but because I felt like I had abandoned myself.
I did what I often do, I turned to Louise Hay.
Pain in the center of the back can be correlated to guilt, to wanting people/things to get off your back. The affirmation is, “I release the past. I am free to move forward with love in my heart.”
Nerve discomfort (my chiropractor said it was likely radiating pain in my arms and hands from my neck) can be correlated to communication (nerves as "receptive reporters"). The affirmation is, “I communicate with ease and with joy.”
The neck is about refusing to see other sides of an issue, stubbornness, inflexibility. This is an area, though, where I’m in the 5% outlier of her traditional associations not applying. I’ve found that neck issues can also be about being afraid to look backward. They crop up when I’ve locked myself in…it isn’t about balancing the scales with another person so much as not letting myself take the blinders off, being too rigid in feeling forced to keep my head down and “be good.”
I had a choice to make. I could continue to berate myself every time I deal with the tightness and discomfort from the nerves being aggravated (and it’s still happening so there is ample opportunity to be frustrated).
Or, I could look at it as a wound I could heal with compassion.
I’ve had myriad examples where it wasn’t safe or wise to tell a man that he was out of line or wrong about something. The blowback wasn't worth it. A sneaky little belief had formed without my realizing it.
It wasn’t until I was half-naked with a strange man that it was brought to my attention.
I prayed that I’d be diverted from that experience if it wasn’t correct for me. So, I went through it for a reason. I know this is hard because it took nearly a month for me to write about it. I've felt ashamed of myself. I’d been abandoning myself so completely and thoroughly in this area for so long.
As a healer, when something persists, I know it’s my body and my subconscious trying to get through to me.
So, I’m paying attention. I’m being present. I’m doing my best to be soft with myself, to give myself the understanding and compassion I would anyone else.
It isn’t easy to be awake and aware. Growth is a spiral. You continue to meet yourself and your issues in deeper and more nuanced layers. There is always work to be done.
How you show up for the work is what matters. It's not about reaching some elusive finish line. It's about the person you are as you're walking the path.
Are you open and available? Or, are you stuck and rigid?
Can you let life flow? Or, are you blocking it out of fear and anger?
There is always a choice. You may not choose what happens to you. But, you choose your response. Fear is easy. Love is hard.
Love is hard because we have to come back to our alignment, again and again. It takes work, effort, dedication. It's a muscle you train.
I'd rather be uncomfortable while I'm growing than uncomfortable while I'm stuck.
I guess my message is what I'd like to tell all women who have swallowed their truth. You're doing your best. It's ok that this isn't easy. You don't have to have it all figured out just because you're not a little girl anymore. The pain you've experienced can be frozen in little pockets in your body, and it may be released in unexpected ways. It's released when you're ready to deal with it. It won't always be convenient. In fact, it probably won't be at all.
Take it as a cue that you feel safe enough to finally work on it. Give yourself the patience and compassion you needed all along.
I'm with you.