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Archive for the ‘Pre- & Perinatal Psychology’ Category

Thursday morning:

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.

Friday morning:

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.

Saturday morning:

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).

http://www.katiesilcox.com

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!

~kirby

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I am going to write about how clarity can arise during meditation.  And it can also arise when we are offering bodywork.

Garchen Rinpoche is one of my heart teachers.  He is one of the few individuals on the planet who I honestly think, loves everyone and everything around him.  He is the embodiment of loving-kindness in my eyes.  And he is more than that as well, his wisdom fire is vast and deep, so he also embodies the wisdom-gnosis of Manjushri.  If I get the chance to attend his teachings, I make every attempt to go.

In a recent post of one of his teachings, he mentions that with devotion to the Guru or to one’s root lama, that clarity can arise when we meditate.  If we have the dedication of years of practice, and if we are truly devoted to our heart teacher, then clarity can easily arise when we do Guru Yoga or offer a Tsok feast and Lama Chopa practice (offering a delicious feast to the blessing-bestowing lineage holders of one’s particular Tibetan Buddhist lineage).  If we have a question, we might not need to ask our root lama in person, unless it is easy.  [Of course it is good to check in from time to time to make certain we are not being blown about by the winds of delusion]  Rather, if we have a question, we can ask it at the beginning of a meditation session or before we do Guru Yoga, and Garchen Rinpoche says that by the next morning, we might have our answer.

I believe there are some definite parallels between meditation and doing professional, compassionate, skillful, ethical bodywork.  I personally practice Craniosacral Therapy, I work with a little bit of trauma resolution by working with the Vagus nerve and the Polyvagal system and I am starting to get into Pre- and Perinatal therapy (PPN therapy) and Birth Process work.  I have been giving and receiving bodywork for over 12 years now, and I feel that the levels of embodiment I am discovering are very difficult to describe in words and that my body communicates with me on a regular basis.

If we are doing bodywork and something comes up in the session, we can get to the point where we can ask our own bodies – “what is going on here?”  And we can get a definite, accurate answer.

Here is an example of this:

I was giving a treatment a little while ago when I started to feel the client’s pain coming out into my hands.  This can occur anytime someone has emotional or physical trauma and we as healing facilitators are both wishing them well and attempting to get their body to release old stuff.

The problem with the above situation though, is that I want to be able to give a treatment session and have some energy remaining to enjoy my day.  I want to be able to give at least four treatments in a day without feeling drained.  So if I am starting to take on my client’s stuff, I have to pause and notice the yellow flags my body is raising.  “Hello Kirby – do you really want to continue down this path?”  No, I don’t.

Therefore, I paused and asked my body – specifically my gut and my kidneys, “What do I need to know right now?  Why am I taking on this person’s stuff?”

And it was pretty wild.  I got an instant response of, “There is nothing to do, nothing to fix, nothing to make [as healing facilitator].  I am merely connecting to this person’s innate health which is never lost.”  I stated something like this out loud – that their body knows how to heal itself and that I am just coaching their process.

And within seconds, I stopped taking on anything from this person, despite my hands remaining on them the whole time.  I got them to do a little technique to move the energy through and out of their body (without me as middle man!) and they deeply appreciated the session.

It is always good to remind ourselves of the basics.  Going back from time to time to review the basics is very helpful for me.

I think I was taking on this person’s stuff because I had temporarily fallen back into an old pattern of trying to help or fix one of my parents (an old pattern of mine).  Once I named and noticed it and shifted my intention and my awareness, I was able to no longer be hooked by my old pattern.

Likewise, we can get questions answered when we sit on the meditation cushion.  Or we can answer our questions (sometimes instantly) by having years of experience working with our bodies and having a tradition enhanced with wisdom to lean into.  In other words, we can bring meditation into various contexts we are working in.

Thank you for reading!

~km

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As my readers may know, I recently returned from an edifying and serene and resourcing trip to Canada – British Columbia – where I learned more about pre- and perinatal psychology and birth process work.

During that training, my heart expanded along with my perceived capacity to get stuff done when I came back into the real world.  On the last day of the training, we sat in our groups of 3 (plus a TA) and discussed what our plans were to get support once we got back into our regular lives (outside of idyllic British Columbian mountain settings).

I recorded my plans and intentions and needs around support.  And that list, which I guess one could call a brain storming of sorts, was long and now that I listen to it again, it was quite overambitious.

I need to integrate the work (the emotional process work that I did myself and that I witnessed).  That is first and foremost.  Somehow though, I came back home with an expanded heart and I started filling up every morning of my calendar.  And then most evenings were spent at work (I work in a restaurant to pay the bills.  Although if I had my way, I would prefer to see more bodywork clients and not have to work.  The benefits are nice though.)

We are supposed to keep in touch with people from the training, but if I am filling up my time with connections up there, then my plate is still too full.  Even if it is full of good stuff.

I have given multiple bodywork sessions since being back, including to a Mom and baby who was born via C-section.  And I had to pause the next day and say, “Do I need to treat myself for shock?”  (I had also seen a bear while hiking by myself not too far from Charlottesville.  A surprising if not shocking experience of sorts.)  And the answer was a “yes.”  So I did that.  I lay down.  I had a heated pad on my kidneys.  I drank some warm tea.

Now that Mercury is out of retrograde, I am going even slower.  Maybe now my integration can actually begin.  What am I doing differently?  First of all, I am not actively calling others to schedule anything.  If clients call me, that is great.  Then I say yes and schedule them.  But this week I have two days off and on one of them I’m not scheduling a damned thing.  And on the other day off, I am going hiking with a friend of mine.  (after the bear incident, I am thinking I might hike with other people more often.)

My schedule is still pretty full.  I am assisting in a Polyvagal class one morning a week – where I get to drop into a deep state of resourced potency and more clarity and occasionally I receive a free treatment from one of the students in the class.  I also have to give bodywork but this can also be resourcing.  Sometimes I feel I too receive healing (or at least I am forced to rest in alignment) when I give bodywork.

But outside of treating the occasional baby and the weekly client, I plan to take it easy for the month of October.  Of course, if you want to chat about your astrology chart, look me up – email is kirby [at] mkirbymoore [dot] com    I am looking forward to doing some astrology in the next few weeks.

I was surprising everyone up in Canada.  I mentioned that I started first with astrology (back in 2003) – before I got into bodywork.  So of course several people wanted me to peek at their charts.  I was just saying the first thing off the top of my head about the various aspects and configurations I was seeing and it seemed pretty spot on.  My intuition is definitely sharper at the moment.

The moral of the story is that I am slowing down more than I have been the past couple weeks.  I am happy to see 2 or 3 bodywork clients a week (and I need to schedule down time for me after I see them).  And I am happy to start doing astrology interpretations again.  I have taken a 6 month hiatus for some reason – haven’t done many charts in a while.  But it was great fun to chat about astrology up in Canada, so I see it happening more here.  And I need a designated day off with nothing on my docket.  Finding a balance between doing just enough versus doing too much is not easy for me.  My intention is more being and less doing.  I am curious about what that looks like.

Wish me luck (in slowing down)!

Thanks for reading,

~km

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I have permission from my friend to share a little about her experience today.  No names so her identity will remain anonymous.  [And by the way, I am not a doctor.  I do not claim to be able to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease or conditions!  If you have medical questions, you should speak with a licensed practitioner.  And doctors have phenomenal training in the biomedical model and treating pathophysiology issues and delivering babies.  And there might be room for improvement as well.]

I learned a lot in Canada during the PPN (pre- and perinatal psychology / birth process) training.  And of course I realized that I have a lot more to learn as well.  Sometimes though it is funny how my brain works – it is as if I have a little super-man sitting on my shoulder saying, “Hey – you have discovered all 8 steps to treating babies.  You can name them all.  You obviously know what you are doing!”  {by the way, 8 is an arbitrary number there – just using it as an example.}

And then I get in there and give a treatment and have to call my teachers because 10x more questions arose than I could answer!  And I desperately need a debrief!  Minds are funny sometimes.  So no I don’t fully know what I’m doing.  But yes my intuition is extremely sharp and yes I have learned many tools for treating adults and kids and babies.  And I have some knowledge.  But I have a ton more to learn!

I honestly cannot believe how cold and distant and harsh and ignorant hospitals can be.  Not all hospitals.  (And yes, this is a nursing student saying this.  However I am an extremely well-educated nursing student when it comes to Emotional Quotient – I have done more than a decade of work around educating my heart to be more kind to self and other, to have more clarity, to have authentic compassion for self and other and to speak my truth to power.  And I have done a great deal of birth process work on myself with authentic mentors and coaches and teachers.)

In treating my friend, who recently gave birth via C-section, I got to see how little some doctors know about trauma and how to prevent trauma and how to resolve trauma if it occurs.  We have to educate them!  I feel like I am almost ready to be that person to provide trainings for them, but I don’t have enough credentials after my name.

I intend to go through my treatment of my friend and what she said about how the birth was and where I feel like it, I will say, the doctors did well and here’s where they could improve.

She went in for a check up because her due date was the following day – she was huge and she was ready for the contractions to start and she wanted to have a natural birth.  Vaginal birth.  During the check up, of course they did an ultrasound (which may not be necessary by the way – a good mid wife can determine which way the baby is oriented without the high pitch ultrasound which has been shown to hurt baby’s ears).  And the baby had turned breech – feet down.  So they basically did not give her an option.  They said they needed to do a C-section within the next few hours.  She did not have a doula.  She did not have a midwife.  She had not done any research about her options.

Yes, breech birth can be dangerous.  But some midwives specialize in doing breech births and those births are successful.  And more importantly perhaps, is that some midwives (or even some OBGYN’s) have learned how to work with the baby to turn.  It might have an hour or two, but they could tried!  [Full disclosure, I don’t know if there were any other reasons for her having a C-section.  Her primary language is Spanish, so her husband was translating some of our conversation.]

Let me call a pause right there and let that sink in.  Here was my friend, excited about and anticipating having a natural vaginal birth and suddenly she has just an hour or two before she will be drugged (epidural – needle in her spine) and cut open, having the baby pulled right out of her.  That is scary shit.  And if you unpack all the layers, there might even be some anger deep down there towards the medical system for letting you down.  And if not anger, then guilt might arise because she was so attached to the idea of pushing and having a natural labor and delivery.  So, we might want to pause for a long time and unpack all these layers…  But she didn’t have that option.

So she had one to two hours to prepare for a major surgery that she did not expect to need to have.  Let me just repeat, that is scary shit.  And it has also been shown that fear closes down the pelvis – meaning that even if a good midwife had been with her, after the doctors told her about needing a section, there would be even less of a chance of having a successful breech birth.

They did not give her a choice.  Her English is not good so I don’t think she asked any questions or expressed her needs.  She needed a birth advocate.  Really.

Therefore, instead of trying to work with the baby first, knowing that she had a C-section.  I asked if I could work with her first.  She asked me if that was really necessary, saying that she was pretty much fine.  And I said, let me just put my hands on your arm and listen for a few minutes.

So she lay down.  I have a bit of training with Kathy Kaine’s Touch Skills for Therapists (Trauma Resolution).  I also have a lot of training doing emotional process oriented bodywork via Craniosacral Therapy, Zapchen Somatics and Process Buddhism.  So if you ask me exactly what modality I was using, I would say primarily the trauma resolution piece and it was also informed by the different layers of primary respiration (what tides of cerebrospinal fluid movement was she in?).

It did not take long to start “working.”  I was holding her forearm, and after checking on the contact – was it comfortable, etc, I started listening to her skin with the proprioceptors in my hands and fingers.

Within about 3 to 5 minutes, there was a definite sensation that I felt as outside person – it was gritty and big and scary and rough and it was almost like she was being bullied by something.  I asked her if she noticed anything.

She said yes!  She wondered if I was pulling something out of her.  I said it was mainly her body doing the healing.  In truth, I definitely wasn’t pulling anything out of her into me!  I was just a coach and a container and a compassionate, unconditionally caring witness.

She said it felt weird and scary.  I said that sounded about right.  She said (that in spite of my only holding her forearm) that it felt like something was being pulled out of the wound in her pelvis.  I felt that too.

That strange sensation lasted about 2 – 3 minutes.  Then I felt cold.  There was cold energy coming off of her skin.  I asked her about that.  And yes she said, why is it cold?

I asked, was it cold in the operating room and her husband said yes!  She was shivering a bit at times.  I think she was kept cold to keep the blood flow down.  I also said that terror and fear can lead to frozen tissue and that it was good that the cold energy was releasing.

After about 5 minutes of her releasing the cold energy, a new sensation arose.  The time numbness.  Again I asked her about this.  And yes, she said she noticed it.  I asked her how it was to be drugged.  She said that she couldn’t move properly for about 6 – 8 hours after the surgery.  I said the numbness might be the memory (or the actual) of the drug moving out of her system.

Then she finally relaxed more and said she felt warmth.  I let her sit with that for a few minutes (I wanted to purposely go slow.  To slow things down.  Because the surgery and the birth were probably way too fast).

Then I asked her how her digestion was.  She said not good.  I asked if I could put my hands on her belly.  Sure she said.

I listened for a few minutes and felt a few slow, sluggish spots in her digestion.  Then I remembered that Balancing the Sphincters – a quick technique I learned in Visceral Manipulation classes – might be good.

Checking her sphincters, I found that the second one – the Pyloric sphincter (from the stomach to the duodenum) was basically not moving.  Often times the digestion will be sluggish resulting in a sluggish sphincter, but I listened for a minute or two and no movement!  So I did the rebounding technique to reset it and sure enough.  A couple minutes later it was moving on its own again.  Yay!  Of course, due to the pain killing medication which probably had some narcotics (opioids) in it, that is a part of the reason her digestion would be disrupted.

She started to fall asleep during the treatment, so I figured that she had had enough.

In just 30 minutes of listening to her system, providing a safe space (container) for her body to release that traumatic memory, and occasionally explaining what I was doing, she released a lot!  But honestly we probably only went through 3 or 4 layers of trauma.  I’m sure there is more.

I must say that her surgery went splendidly.  I did not see the wound but hopefully it is healing well and hopefully the surgeon did a great job of stitching her up.  The doctors did a great job of assisting the baby be born.  And her husband was right there with her the entire time, so that was good for her to have an ally and friend in the room.

If the doctors had some training in trauma prevention or resolution (and if they had a well-trained midwife on premise) most of this work might not be necessary.

And of course I am looking forward to doing a debrief with my teachers about what I could have done better and how I can treat the baby for shock – treating mommy was relatively easy (because I am used to working with adults).  I am probably heading back over there to work with the baby in a week or two.

Thanks for reading!

~KM

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