Hello Dear Readers,
First of all, what is de-structuring? De-structuring is a time where things seem to be falling apart around us (and sometimes within us). In the language of the I Ching (the ancient Chinese divination tool), de-structuring might align most closely with Kua 23 which has to do with Splitting Apart.
If I have been living in a stuck situation, or living with negative belief structures influencing my life and decision making, then it seems that some sort of “shaking things up” would be a good thing. Right?
The trouble is, somatic de-structuring (where it feels like my body, or my emotions, or my health is what is splitting apart) is very uncomfortable. If I have gotten used to my old patterns of rigidity, or stubbornness, or being okay with harsh people around me, etc, then that is what I know. That is comfortable (in a way). Then to have those old structures threatened, it feels like the “Me” I knew is dying or being torn apart or being shattered.
Of course that is not comfortable! It can be a very unnerving time! However, if we truly want to grow. If we want to mature. If we want to repair our nervous system. If we adopt an efficacious spiritual practice. If we genuinely want to move toward well-being, then guess what? It is quite likely we have some patterns and deeply ingrained structures within our psyche that on some level, we desperately want to change.
When this is happening however, it can feel like we are dying, or dissolving, or being shattered by our circumstances. It is certainly not enjoyable.
I want to point out that, on the other side (several years down the road), we will look back at those difficult times and say, “I’m glad I went through that difficult time.
This was certainly true for me. I will try to keep this personal anecdote on the brief side…
Back in 2005, I was having a hard time. I was young (25 years old). I had been living in some tenuous living situations, where I had been forced to move with just a few days notice. I was dating someone who I was close with, I had great love for her, but it wasn’t quite right as far as marriage or life partnership was concerned. So breaking up with her was very difficult. I had been studying astrology for two years by that point, and I was just getting into practicing bodywork and somatic exercises to move toward well-being (Craniosacral Therapy and Zapchen Somatics).
Little did I know it, but I had subconsciously been praying for changes, for a transformation. I did not know quite yet what I wanted to do with my life. I felt a bit lost. I didn’t have an authentic spiritual path quite yet (but that year I was to meet some of my teachers who I still work with today).
Once I met these incredible, sincere heart teachers in various Tibetan lamas, and in the Zapchen Somatics founder, Julie Henderson, I began down a path of transformation that would leave me feeling rent asunder.
In 2006, I pushed myself to change, to grow, the transform. For about six months there, with the blessings of multiple Tibetan Lamas, I was doing an average of three hours of spiritual practice a day. And that often included doing at least 300 full length prostrations daily (a bowing practice in Buddhism that has many many benefits).
Little did I know at the time, that this subconscious request to move toward well-being came with cathartic growth and powerful transformational energies. I grew like crazy. I grew like bamboo, like kudzu, like unchecked grass after the spring rains. Up, up, up! I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I was growing. And I became attached to the pace of growth that I had uncovered.
I would have been nice to know (by 2010 for instance), that a major transformation or growth phase must – I repeat MUST – have some time for integration built in. That might look like several months of extra time in nature, slowing down, laying on the couch staring at the ceiling, laying in the grass at night, gazing at the vast spacious night sky, etc. It doesn’t really matter what the activity is – as long as it is pervaded with conscious, intentional time for slowing down and digesting all the changes that have happened over the past few years. The powers that be forced this on me several times. I wasn’t very good at slowing down. I was pretty hard on myself – I had grown so much in those four years (2006 – 2010), why couldn’t that huge internal growth spurt continue?
What if I had made a major change, but without appropriate introspection time, I did not realize it. I kept pushing for more change, which may not have been necessary at all!
For me, it took a while to learn how to slow myself down (I had great support along the way – from bodyworkers, somatic experiencing practitioners, heart teachers, Tibetan lamas, mentors, coaches, and fellow meditators). And when I say a while, it has only been in the past few years that I have truly started to walk my talk. These days, if I treat several clients with heavy trauma in a day, or if I have a full week, I know I need some down time. I may feel the “high” of benefiting people and not want to slow down. I want to get online, I want to write more here on my blog, I want to read astrology books, I want to do more mantra accumulation… But I force myself to take an epsom salt bath, or to go for a gentle hike, or just lie in my bed and do some deep belly breathing for 30 minutes.
I had my first significant experience of de-structuring back in 2002. And it was only in 2016, 2017 that I gave myself permission to whole-heartedly slow down and digest all the myriad changes which happened between those years!! Be gentle, be kind, be patient, and be persistent. We will get there. It doesn’t have to be as hard as we are making it!
(end of my personal anecdote on de-structuring)
I love working with the I Ching (ancient Chinese divination tool, see above). And Julie Henderson (the Zapchen Somatics creator) did an excellent interpretation of the I Ching which is meant for yogis and psychotherapists. It is the somatic I Ching, the I Ching for people who truly want to move toward well-being.
In Julie’s interpretation, in Kua 47 (Exhaustion), line 6 talks about this tendency. That would be the tendency of assuming that old habits of difficulty are guaranteed to continue going forward. Julie writes:
“At the end of oppression, risk easy movement. Your expectations may be grim. Move gently to test those assumptions that opposition is eternal.”
She goes on to mention that it is quite possible that we have “trapped ourselves in fretting.” It is possible that we are still making oppression out of habit, even though our situation has changed! Can we take some time to actually notice what is happening inside now?
What if I have purified that old karma? Whether it is my own karma, or inter-generational patterns, or patterns inherited from my parents, my culture, society, etc. What if I have changed it significantly? Do I still assume that something bad is about to happen? Am I always waiting for the other shoe to drop? Am I always braced for the attack I know is inevitable? Can I test these assumptions?
Can I simply allow discomfort or mild pain to be what it is? Am I always trying to put a story on it? Oh god – something is wrong here! There must be something wrong. This has never happened before, this must be an emergency! Maybe that is true. Julie also mentions that, “discomfort does not equal distress, unless we hang a story on it.”
Can I take a deep breath? Can I invite in more spaciousness? Can I do breath work, or toning, like saying “Ah” to invite in more openness? Maybe humming would help.
No matter what happens. No matter what we are going through. I hope we have good support. We need that. We are social creatures, and we heal and repair our nervous system best while in the presence of other healthy people.
And if we are going through a somatic de-structuring process, it would be good to have an appropriate guide. Someone who has gone through the process themselves. Someone who knows that ultimately, “It is going to be okay.”
I hope we all find that person. May we know, whether our de-structuring process lasts for two or three years, or whether it lasts for half our lifetime, that we can always move toward well-being. We can always grow and transform for the better. We improve ourselves as human beings. And we can ask for and get support. Even if we say a prayer everyday, it might take a little while, but help is always nearby. There is immense resource out there (seen and unseen, known and unknown).
Kirby Moore (me, the author) offers somatic bodywork sessions as well as long-distance Somatic Experiencing sessions. You can see more of what he offers at www.mkirbymoore.com and you can schedule a session using this link: https://wisdomhealingtherapies.schedulista.com/ If you are a new client, it is good to schedule a 90-minute session first, so we can do an intake interview as well. If you need financial assistance, let me know, we do our best to work with your budget.
Thank you for reading and I hope you visit my blog again soon!