I’m a little nervous and activated as I will both be giving talks about the Autonomic Nervous System, Trauma Resolution and Birth Trauma (repair) and I will be giving treatments as well on Thursday and Friday.
I wake up early, getting things together in order to head down to Clifton Forge (90 minute drive from C’ville). A friend calls me and says that she is in need of a treatment (little crisis has occurred). Fortunately it is on my way out of town.
I pack my car and drive over to her place. Give a nice 45 minute treatment, then drive a short distance to pick up another friend’s massage table which I was borrowing for the weekend. One fire is moderately extinguished.
I did not do the greatest job of staying centered and in alignment. I think my body knew what was coming before I did (tends to be the case). When we listen carefully to what our body’s are saying, we can slow down and approach things with care and appreciation of what we are getting ourselves into. Driving down on Interstate 81, I am caught in traffic for about 15 minutes as we wait for an accident to clear. A part of me is starting to rush as I am now 45 minutes later than I expected.
I arrived at 1 pm down there. It is beautiful. On the Cowpasture River (small river but very clean and very good for swimming / soaking in). So serene in the hills of the Shenandoah Valley.
By 2 pm I am set up and I start giving treatments. I am mainly doing trauma resolution / birth process type work. Which, in hindsight, was a bit much. The yoga teacher talked up my practice and my skills (of course I am capable of giving someone an intense session, it is just a matter of whether or not that is wise).
[Aside – I am a very competent bodyworker having studied Reiki (master), a little Zero Balancing, a little Reflexology, Visceral Manipulation, a lot of Craniosacral Therapy, a good bit of Polyvagal trauma resolution and a decent amount of birth process work. However, what I learned from this visit down to the yoga retreat, is that I need to provide a thorough Intake Form ahead of time. And I only want to offer deeper work to people who have good support – bodyworkers, therapy, doctors, acupuncturists, etc – back home. If I am going to travel and give treatments, I need to be a supplement to a solid matrix of support that people already have in place. I cannot hold this much heart ache on my own again. So while I am “good” enough to give people intense bodywork sessions, I am now wise enough to know better. If someone is new to bodywork, no deep work for them – instead it will be stabilizing, grounding, resourcing and exploring safety. I want people to be safely in their bodies. If / when they have stabilized this awareness, then we can talk about deepening their process. I was getting paid quite well however, so it was tough to say no to people down there..]
At 5 pm I had give two sessions and taken a short nap before I gave an hour and a half talk about the ANS and how the body resources and regulates. I also gave an instruction about Checking the Sphincters – a quick and easy technique from Visceral Manipulation. I loved how sensitive most of the yoginis were down there – several people reported having rapidly improved digestion as a result of this technique.
Then I gave my fourth session of the day after dinner and I was so ready for bed by 9:30 pm.
We (the yoga teacher, her assistant and myself) stayed in a massive Air B&B house in Clifton Forge – it had one of the steepest streets I have ever driven up leading up to it. And it had extensive gardens and terraces outside. When the instructor told me that the entire house (6 bedrooms?!) and gardens cost less than $200 / night I could not believe it.
Woke up, did my own yoga (mainly Svaroopa Yoga, a gentle supported yin yoga) after not sleeping very well. Then went downstairs and made breakfast. I prepared some notes as today I was going to talk about Trauma Resolution and Repair. Then I was back off to the Farm House as I had a session at 8 am…
Oh, I made some phone calls and got out of an appointment the next day, meaning I was able to stay down at the retreat for yet another day.
Did four sessions total on this day and I was spent. I had to ask for support and thankfully a guy gave me a 15 minute Reiki tune-up and I showed another yogini how we can sit back to back (for kidney support) and then I showed her how to assist with kidney settling, a technique where one person does a short trust fall back and the person sitting behind them catches them with their hands at the kidney level. It is best to be showed how to do this (don’t try this at home without previous instruction!). But nonetheless, it proved very helpful as I got more sleep on this night.
I woke up and had to eat something heavier, so I reluctantly admit to eating a four-egg omelet! Spinach and tomatoes topped that delicious thing off!!
Then another session at 8 am. I would end up doing only 3 sessions on Saturday as that was my limit. My body was close to turning off so I mentioned to the instructor that I would be heading back to Charlottesville soon – after I got a snack and a little rest.
I handed out little blessed, precious pills (mani ril bu in Tibetan). They were calling me a Tibetan Lama but I told them that was not correct – I am not a Lama. But I did act like one I suppose. By the way, I told the participants about the miraculous way that some mani ril bu (precious pills) are formed. During some mani drupchen retreats, when there are many monks and nuns doing the practice and / or when a high lama (like the Karmapa) is in attendance, there have been reports of the precious pills self-arising and spilling over the edge of their large containing bowl. In other words, the pills miraculously appear and multiply. So they are very VERY precious and special and full of amazing blessings. These precious pills are tiny – about the size of a grape seed each. I have a small package with about 300 in it and it fits in my pocket. They are little tiny balls of powerful blessings.
With that said, and as a vulgar and humorous anecdote, I gave all the yogis (2) and yoginis (16) several precious pills each, I gave everyone a hug and said my goodbyes. Then I started loading up my car. In my over-treated stupor, I did not realize they were about to hand out certificates and say some beautiful intentions for the upcoming months.
Upon hearing them starting this ceremony, I went back up on the porch. Where, to my surprise, one young woman went up to receive her certificate, and then, as she was about to voice her intention, she said, “I’m sorry, I still have Kirby’s balls in my mouth.” I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped several inches as I thought to myself, “Wow, this weekend was going so well, very professionally, and then this.” Anyway, it was really funny in the moment! I listened to about six or seven of them wrap up with their intentions and what they were trying to give up over the next year. Very powerful and poetic and magical.
I’m so glad I went and participated. There is a chance I might get to participate in other similar retreats in the upcoming year (if I am still in the area).
Fortunately the drive back was uneventful. I stopped by my parent’s home as it is about halfway between Clifton Forge and Charlottesville. And fortunately my Mom had fixed meatballs – heavy food, heavy sauce, it was so perfect to get me back in my body!
Thanks for reading!