“No,” Hilary replied. “A very close friend died a few days ago.”
Fortunately, I was able to see Hilary the next morning. We had been working together for several months, initially to address pelvic pain, but also to help manage stress. The current session began with a brief summary of how she had been doing since our last appointment two weeks earlier.
“Physically, I’m pretty wiped out,” rating her overall physical status at a 9 on a scale of 0-10 with 0 indicating no concerns and 10 indicating extreme discomfort. “I am almost finished with the process of moving out of my apartment. You already know (from our last session) that the move is emotionally challenging for me.” Hilary loves being in Chicago, but in order to progress in her career, she needs to change locations. She went on to describe how her body reacts physically to emotions: poor appetite and shakiness, with neck and shoulder tightness and pain at a level of 3-4.
Emotionally, her rating was 4-5. “I have a lot of mixed emotions, but I feel I am reacting appropriately, allowing myself to feel and express myself. It’s more on the physical level where the emotions seem to act out.” Hilary described a prickly sensation around her lower abdominal area, “like an on-guard feeling around my belly, not defensive but it’s there in an alert adrenaline sort of way. It feels as if something is looming, yet I have a neutral feeling about it at the same time.”
Mentally, she reported a range of 2-6 with her current level around 3. “I’m proud of myself because I’m not getting down on myself. I’m allowing myself to not be perfect.” Nonetheless, she was experiencing ups and downs in the area of self-criticism from day to day.
Spiritually, she reported feeling pretty well connected. “My spirituality is helping me get through this. My friend who died was a nurse and was the one who introduced me to a variety of esoteric ideas that have contributed to a strong sense of spirituality. She was my mentor and I enjoy feeling her presence even though she is not with me physically.”
Do you see a theme here? Hilary’s loss and the resulting grief and fatigue were what brought her to my office. When someone dies, it can be a shock, we often miss their physical presence, or it may remind us of our own mortality, leaving us feeling physically and emotionally drained. Yet, in a broader sense, death visits us in many ways every day. For example, in the simple act of washing our hands, we are facilitating a death of sorts, releasing skin cells that are no longer functioning. For Hilary, changing the focus of her career and leaving the city she loved represented additional aspects of something dying. When death occurs, there is bound to be a period of adjustment. We look for a new way of being without our loved one’s presence. Or we work through the challenges of living in a new city, meeting new colleagues, making new friends, doing whatever we need to do to create a “new normal.” As Hilary described all that she was going through, we identified the theme:
Hilary’s intention for the session was expressed so eloquently. “I need a moment to pause, to step out of myself and know I’m OK. I want to continue to move forward consciously and gracefully.” With that, we put on some relaxing music (Dan Gibson’s “Natural Stress Relief”) and she laid down on the treatment table, ready to begin.
My assessment of Hilary’s energy centers (chakras) indicated imbalance, congestion, and depletion. The layers of her energy field were somewhat collapsed. I could feel heaviness over her heart and tingling over her torso and legs.
The treatment involved a technique called the Chakra Spread. I sandwiched my hands with light contact above and below each foot and then each of Hilary’s hands, for about 30 seconds, visualizing an opening in her arches and palms for releasing suppressed material–physical and emotional pain, sadness, mental worry, and the general unsettledness that often accompanies change. Then, I slowly inserted my hands into the vortex of each chakra and gently spread my hands apart, repeating this process three times with each chakra–crown, brow, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral, and root–as well as the knees and ankles. The image is that of a potter working at the wheel, gently moving my hands apart as the clay spins and opens. I then moved my hands down each leg without actually touching Hilary, as if pulling a column of light off each foot. In a slow and methodical way, I repeated the process two more times, from crown to feet, remembering our intention to support this time of transition–loss of her friend, moving to a new city, and launching a new career direction–“consciously and gracefully.”
As the Chakra Spread progressed, a beautiful rhythm emerged. I found myself moving my arms gently to the music and repeating over and over in my mind, with each series of three movements through her chakras, “May Hilary be happy, may Hilary be peaceful, may Hilary be free.” The tingling in her solar plexus and sacral chakras released quickly. I sensed a thickness in the energy at her throat slowly come to the surface and dissolve. Her heart area became soft and open. Hilary remained motionless throughout the session, with eyes closed, breathing slowly and deeply.
At the end of the treatment, I reassessed Hilary’s energy. The field surrounding her physical body was light, with no indication of heaviness or tingling. The layers of her field were even. The edge was strong and expanded about 40 inches from her body. All of her chakras were open, spinning quickly. I stepped out of Hilary’s energy field with a final silent prayer:
“Grant us the serenity, to accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can, and
wisdom to know the difference.”
I waited for several minutes in silence, allowing the process to integrate. As Hilary began to return to waking consciousness I held her feet and connected with the Earth for strength and support. Then she spoke. “The session was relaxing. It felt grounding, which I didn’t expect. I didn’t realize I need that.”
Hilary expressed interest in learning something to anchor the work that we had done. I demonstrated an exercise called “chakra breathing,” which I have found to be very helpful for grounding and strengthening the aura. Then, I invited Hilary to join me. She reported feeling energized and enlivened by the exercise, and decided she would practice chakra breathing daily to maintain strength, balance, and grounding.
Healing Touch supports all kinds of life transitions, including death itself. It can alleviate physical pain and tension, soften difficult emotions such as grief and anxiety, clear mental confusion and worry, and release feelings of being lost or disconnected. Additionally, the beauty of the work lies in the way it helps pave the way for what is to come. Just as hand-washing allows us to release cells that are no longer functioning, it also allows new healthy skin cells to come to the surface. Likewise, Healing Touch allows us to release and let go, opening us up to a new way of being, whether we are moving across the country or transitioning to a new level of existence.
For Hilary, changing the focus of her career and leaving Chicago represented aspects of something dying in order to make way for new growth. The death of her friend, though difficult, opened Hilary up to a new way of relating, “feeling her presence even though she is not with her physically.” The insight that Hilary gained from the session was her need to stay grounded amidst all the change.
Are you finding yourself in a time of transition? Are you holding on to something that needs to let go? The need to control? The need to be right? The need to know the future? An unhealthy relationship? An unfulfilling job? Old beliefs that feel restrictive? Grief, sadness, anxiety? I encourage you to allow yourself to move through these situations, rather than holding, blocking or avoiding. It may require acceptance, courage, wisdom, even forgiveness, but your reward will be freedom and peace, an ability to move forward “consciously and gracefully.”
…3 months later, I reached out to Hilary to find out how she was doing. Here is her reply:
Hi Katie! How nice to hear from you! I am actually doing really well. Aside from the stress of moving, I have been feeling great. I haven’t been bogged down by how overwhelming school is. I have been taking vitamins (D, St. John’s Wort and a probiotic complex.) I meditate a few times a week. And as always, I breathe. Stress and other things come and go, but I feel I am handling it a lot better. As far as the pelvic pain is concerned, it has been minimal if at all, which is nice. There are long stretches of days where it’s not even there. So yeah, Boston and school are lovely! Hope you are doing well as well! Thanks for checking up on me!