I often need to remind myself how important it is for me to slow down and reflect back on my work. As I do so, it becomes apparent that every client I see is a universe. Each is a deep well, filled with a multitude of life elements. Each one is unique and each story is very special, and very touching if I allow it to penetrate into the depth of my being. Shall I allow it, I ask myself? I recognize my current answer as Yes. Long ago, I didn’t know much about my clients. I would only see them for a session without even knowing their real names. We’d spend an hour or two together before parting, without having found out a thing about each other. I was different then, I wasn’t as curious, I wasn’t as willing to let life sink deeply into me. I was more focused on my life’s functions, getting work done, moving on to the next session. I was on the go, I was on the run toward the next client, the next achievement, the next adventure. Now, I value learning things in-depth, slowing down, reflecting. I want to feel life in all its profoundness and glory. I want to soak in the juice of every moment, experience every interaction to the fullest. It feels like a good way to honor the Great Feminine - within myself, within others, within life itself.
As a result, I’m attracting like-minded clients. Before, most of my clients wanted to pass through like ghosts, without being known for their life story. But now I’m being honored with invitations to connect to my clients on a multitude of layers. I get the chance to meet them, to question their life story, even to see their family and to stay in touch afterwards to see how their life’s journey evolves. I now allow myself to slow down from chasing “the next adventure.” I often reflect on my clients’ journeys, most of which I find to be my mirrors. It’s amazing to see how what happens to “them” is actually what happens to me as well. If I allow myself to tune into their process, I inevitably see that in the depth of our struggles we’re inseparable. One such client is Keith, who has generously offered his story for all who could benefit from it. Here is his story.
Why would I *ever* want to give up control? It’s the essence of who I am. I make shit happen in the world!
When I met Keith, I didn’t expect him to become my client. He seemed like he had everything together and had no doubts about it: physically strong, tough-looking, confident, a beautiful smile. I met him at a dinner gathering and it was his wife who suggested that I should do a session with him. His friends nodded, as though this would need to be a major breakthrough of great importance. I was too relaxed to think more of it and agreed to meet at my place the next day for further discussion.
So there I was the following day, trying to gather myself up from bed. As often happens in the mornings, I was feeling moody, tired, slow, trying to figure out the coffee machine and being too clumsy with it. Slow and stuck in my raw humanness, I suddenly realized that it’s almost session time. The door opened and a crew came in: Keith came with his wife for support, as well as space-holders, who happened to be powerful healers of whom I think highly. “We came to assist you in this journey,” they say graciously, and my insecurities kick in. Ok, this is too much! Not only am I supposed to guide this big, confident, successful man into surrender, but I also have a crew of healers to assist me? Me, a frightened little girl from Stavropol! He is so big, there is no way I can suspend him!l. Feeling into these thoughts, I want to run and hide. I want to disappear, as I feel incredibly inadequate. I feel like my fraud went wrong, my jig is up. Maybe I overdid my marketing, I wonder, to make all of them believe that I’m so powerful?How embarrassing it will be when they recognize me to be a scared little girl from Russia who is just as lost….
But, there was no way out. The space had already been decorated with sacred items, incense was burning, shamanic music was playing. Everything looked pretty official. His wife there with a camera, a sacred medicine shaman with drums and sacred items from Peru, and Deb, Master Trainer of NLP. I sat in front of the big, muscular man, much older than I am, and decided to accept the challenge. To take one step at a time.
I surrender first. Before he surrenders. I ask him about his story, trying to feel into the energy field and sense what really brought him to this place.
Hypervigilance was always there. It was a trait that I had since my youth. It made me good at sports, at fighting. Being young, I wanted the attention I got from it. I magnified it for maximum effect. All the way through the military, fighting, sports. Being a champion makes you good in various endeavours. The “Man”, the system, the economy, the elite, the powerful…. I was only alive when the chase was on and when I had someone or something to fight. Which, if I couldn’t find something in my immediate vicinity, I’d just make something up.
What is your experience with surrender? With releasing and relaxing?
Any kind of release and relaxation, all that “let go let God” is not something that’s done in that atmosphere. There was a time in my life when I experienced surrender, though. I was 12 years old. I nearly drowned. It was very fast flowing river water. I got caught in a very turbulent place, I couldn't get out, I didn’t know what was up and what was down. I went through a period of being terrified, followed by transition of being sad that I was dying and won’t have a chance to do the things I wanted to do. Then I transitioned to total resignation, peace, release - all the things I never felt before. Or since, other than on ayahuasca. In that moment of total relaxation I then felt a command to kick, and I kicked, I kicked a rock, and that propelled me up and I saved myself. As a result, I double-down on the idea that I was indestructible, I saved me, I’m bulletproof. I became an adrenaline-junkee. I channeled it through sports and the military. But I never got back into that place of relaxing into the Great Feminine.
But it’s important to know that while this puma energy is prevalent in just about every “high performance” persona I know, the ‘stress fractures’ signaling imminent collapse appear quite uniquely in these personas as well. So for me too it didn’t come easy, and not without a fuckton of pain. I wrecked relationships. Both intimate and friendships. My health suffered. I was emotionally vacant. Vulnerable and transparent? Fuck no, not even to MYSELF. All of that and I wasn’t even financially successful. What WAS I successful at? Fucking fighting. I fully well understood the concept. Intellectually I got the idea of relaxing into the great feminine’s cradle. Trusting her wisdom. Allowing the universe to work through me. Let go and let God…. Physically, though, I didn’t trust that notion. If I didn’t have my back, who would? Surrender was for the weak, and I was anything but.
Which may have been why the only fear that I had was of being in any way restrained. I feared being imprisoned and oppressed, yes. But even more viscerally so, restrained. I was terrified at the thought. No one--not even my wife--could put their hands anywhere near my neck without my body reacting to protect itself.
What happens when you try to surrender, what is your mechanism of dealing with it? Let’s slow down on this one.
He thought for a moment.
Well, it’s two things - I either fight and escape, or, like I was taught in military training, when I feel vulnerable, I get tough and push through like my feelings don’t matter.
When he said that, I felt the kick of the much-needed, Her Majesty Flow. I felt that this was what was about to happen. He’ll try to go through the experience in the spirit of a warrior - since the only other option would be fighting me, which would be silly to find a skinny Russian girl. So he’ll try to impress us with his “going through the ordeal like a real warrior” I figured. So I went through the scenario in a conversation instead.
Do you see that you’ll try to numb yourself in order to pass through this experience? Are you aware that this is what you’ll try to do?
Do you see that you’ve been there before and that it’s not something that is working for you any longer, and so you probably don’t want to keep repeating it? Would you care to try something different this time? A new way of dealing with challenges?
Try to feel your feelings. Instead of hardening, try to soften. Try to relax and feel free to express your emotions freely, you’re in a safe space, in a caring group of people, we got you. Try letting go. Let it be your core intention for this journey. Remember it.
And so we began. I felt the flow and it took me in a slow pace. I was very gentle with him from the start, embracing him softly from behind, feeling him before I even grabbed any rope. I could feel this subtle language of negotiation between our bodies - “do you trust me? I’m on your side. I’m here for you.” “Maybe," his body would answer.
I started to blindfold him so that he could stay in our energy without distraction. I sensed how the gradual refinement of our attunement to one another took shape. He was now in a state of curious exploration, ready to see what happens, quite open and relaxed. We heard the slow, rhythmic music in the background. It helped to keep us flowing and trusting the process. I embraced him and swung him from side to side to the rhythm of the sound. That’s when I felt ready to dive deeper, grabbed the rope, and put it around his hands while holding them gently with my other hand. He tensed up, and I slowed down.
I recognized this precious moment to be determinant for the outcome of the journey. He had to make a choice, and I couldn't influence him - I could only hold the space and respect whatever had to happen. It was his choice. While my body and energy were there, my mind rested outside of the space and, therefore, I had no attachment to any particular result. I just knew that it’s easier for him to surrender when I too am moving from a place of surrender. I respected any choice he would make, even as I recognized the determining value of this moment. I knew he remembers his initial intention. There was no need to remind him. There was a struggle - between his old ways, to numb things, to which he was so habituated and the new but fertile ground of letting go.
I felt him joining the flow. He wanted to give surrender a chance. He relaxed his body, I could feel him soften on the inside. He moved to the rhythm that I initiated, we were now breathing in unison. I could not help but thank the Divine for this guidance, as it became clear to me that it takes not one’s willpower but Divine intervention to move us from our old conditioned patterns toward something new and unknown.
I kept on flowing with my ropes. It’s was now an effortless dance. Yes, he struggled, but the struggles now had room to dissolve in our shared space of presence. Our assistant healers joined in, I particularly loved the music all around, the shamanic sounds. I intuitively sensed where I can touch him with my ropes, where I can shake him, when to embrace him. His wife occasionally came into our space to embrace him. I could sense his feeling free inside the restraints - he was expressing lots of emotions without any reservations. His rage came through freely. We danced in his emotions together, celebrating all the colors of Shakti - the Divine Femine in her full glory. All of it happened quite effortlessly after that grand choice had been made - to trust and surrender.
Working with you was the first time that I have been able to talk that inner warrior down and have it stand by and allow me to pass into the Great Feminine, into that relaxation.
I realized this: The path to true freedom for me, crazy as it might seem, is through surrendering fully and completely into the great feminine. And I do mean totally surrendering. A complete, voluntary relinquishing into the abyss. No control. Completely open, bare, and vulnerable.
It was for me. Much as I didn’t think it would be. And what I’ve come to discover is this: I (the greater me? my higher self?) was a captive of this warrior-self. I (the General) had put the Lieutenant in charge. Or to put this in an Eastern perspective, the horse was in control of the rider. And this scenario inevitably creates disdain on the part of the servant toward the master. The horse, the Lieutenant - they exist to serve. But will only serve the one they respect.
In this experience, I had to journey into the core of my being and allow my higher self to demand the sentinel to stand down. Not to vanish, kill or in any other way eliminate, but to stand down at my demand. No bypassing, no dulling with psychedelics. A simple gaining back of stewardship of the vessel from an entity that was attempting to captain the ship with the only tools at his disposal.
A month has passed. I can flow between these states effortlessly now. I don’t have to dissociate in order to do it. There is no automatic somatic response keeping me from relaxing into release as before.
It’s pretty fascinating to see the potential. The potential of an insecure girl from Russia to allow the energy of a powerful Goddess to flow through her. The potential of a military mind wired for war to release into peace. To see that although our appearances and background stories are so different, we are both learning the same wisdom. The wisdom of surrendering and trusting the flow, trusting the feminine, trusting life to hold it all together. Whether we have grown used to the role of being powerful or powerless, these seemingly opposite and dangerous roles become infused with divine fragrance so long as we choose to surrender to something higher than ourselves. And this higher power is found in subtle signals of flow, and in our humble intention to transcend our physical limitations. Not only while we play, but in everyday life.