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I had a new thought recently as I was working with a client. I realized that everything I have learned regarding Craniosacral Therapy – protocols, techniques, etc – is fluid and should not be thought as being etched in stone. What I mean is that my teachers taught in the best way they could and in a manner in which I could conceptually understand, and I am very grateful for them, holding them with deep respect. However, it is only when we begin to practice and filter all of what we learned through our own experiences and perception, that we begin to realize those protocols are simply a road map. They are not “THE” answer, rather they are one possible solution to get results.
I say this because individuals are so unique. Sometimes I will have a client who wants more traction (when I drop in techniques from Zero Balancing for instance), so much traction that I am not able to provide enough – very rare but it has happened. Then I will have another client for whom, say (arbitrarily), 10 lbs – not much when it comes to the legs – is too much. And occasionally, to really throw a wrench in the works, the same client who wanted more space in their last session will now want much more contact and containment. Therefore, as practitioners we must always be alert and listening, ready to change gears when it is requested of us – whether clients verbally articulate it or whether we feel something change under our hands.
We cannot rely on a checklist, rather we must listen and provide spacious presence to the client’s system in such a way that they feel safe, comfortable and relax with ease. Then when we are ready and when their system is ready we can listen for their body’s unique healing plan and we can connect with that level of their being. We can at this point, and possibly even should, ask “what is needed right now?” “Now that you have dropped you typical patterns of holding and compensating, what would be of most benefit to you right now?” “Please show me what you need.” These questions are good starting points – and the last request is a great intention to set – because a powerful intention, when grounded in knowledge skillfulness and the wisdom of experience, often produces powerful results. We must realize that everyone has an innate healing awareness, their own personal healing plan, and the ability to unwind and re-organize on their own. This personal healing plan or innate healing wisdom which we all have is a vital piece.
We must let go of the (arrogant) thoughts that say, “Oh – look at what I have learned. Look at my degree! Look at how many years I was in school. I am certified with hundreds of hours under my belt! I know the ANSWER!” Dear Lord! This is erroneous and I believe this is one of the primary reasons people do not receive lasting results (when that unfortunate scenario occurs). It is because someone else is trying to push the client / patient’s system to heal ahead of time. Or the practitioner is so focused on relying on their own knowledge that they do not have the space (or compassion or wisdom) to listen to the client’s system or body. And unfortunately, when this last scenario occurs, the client’s body has just shied away from the practitioner’s cold, judgmental gaze – and how can any lasting healing occur when at some level, the client does not feel safe with the practitioner – no matter what letters are after their name?
We must learn to drop the part of ourselves that diagnose, that judge, that says, “Oh look at you! There is something wrong with you and I know what that is! In fact, I can heal you.” Bullshit. Nothing is further from the truth. Get off your high horse before you hurt somebody! Get with the program and drop that old, derogatory story. It is then, and only then that you will start to notice people getting up off the table saying, “Wow! I don’t know what you did, but I feel so much better…” When in actuality, it was their system that told me where to put the fulcrum, and besides that, all I did was hold space and awareness as they re-organized around a fulcrum. So it is imperative(!) – we must listen for the client’s innate healing plan. (See footnote at the bottom.)
It is at this point that we become a part of the solution, a fulcrum around which their system re-organizes and re-orients. And it is only at this point that true, lasting healing occurs. When I have the thought “I know what they need,” which of course is now a major red flag, when this monstrous thought wanders across my serene mental landscape I pause and check in, remembering I don’t actually do anything without their body’s permission and direction. Because I could unwind someone’s jaw all day long – but if they are not ready to process the consciousness that is stored in that particular pattern, whatever is manifesting will never heal. However, if they are ready, and if, after listening, I am drawn to work with their jaw, in a gentle, patient manner, then it might feel like butter melting under my hands and the issue could potentially dissolve in a few seconds. Where on the other hand, if I “know” that they need something unwound, and I do not wait for their body to relax and drop its conditioned patterns of holding and compensation, it could take many minutes to TRY to unwind it, and it still might be fraught with tension (which is a lot of effort for no result – a disappointing proposition indeed).
There is a gift in waiting and listening – allowing the organic process to take effect. This organic process can happen faster and faster if you maintain a [“hands off, I just listen, I just work with your system, I am not a healer, I do not actually fix anything that is not ready to go ahead of time”] attitude and continuously hold this kindhearted space. Then client’s bodies feel your compassionate presence and move into a healing-receptive state with ease and grace. It is at this point that you start to become a healing fulcrum just by being present. This takes time – do not go into a workshop saying, “You know, I’m ready to heal others right now. I’m going to come out of my first (or second… or fifteenth) class and just heal the world.” Baby steps. Go slow, do a little and rest. Learn a little more and rest and integrate. Be gentle. Then it sticks. And it might not be until way down the road that you feel confident and wise with experience (I am certainly light years away). There is a saying among my bodywork teachers: “When you touch 1,000 bodies, then you will have your answers.” That is a lot of bodies to get your hands on. But I think what this means is to trust that the process will take a long, long time to evolve and integrate. But it will happen if you apply a gentle yet persistent work ethic.
Remember, less is better than more. “We can never go too deep – only too fast” a timely quote by Hugh Milne. And for goodness sake, relax your awareness, identify your stories and then let them go.
Becoming a gifted healing facilitator is an incredible journey. And we cannot arrive at that destination without doing profound work on ourselves. Providing expert healing facilitation for others and doing great work on ourselves goes hand-in-hand. And please keep in mind that the journey is the most delicious part.
Footnote: There are times when we are in such a state of crisis or trauma that taking the time to listen is absurd. That is the beauty of Western medicine – when there is a bone sticking out of someone’s arm, there is no time to waste. I feel Western medicine does a fabulous job with acute issues, injury and disease. However, it is the non-life-threatening material that could use more of a compassionate touch. Not that I know what I am talking about…
This was hastily written by M. Kirby Moore, an ordinary human being, on May 14th, 2010.