“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore, trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity.
Kahlil Gibran “The Prophet”
I was at home on sick leave with repetitive strain injury when I saw the advertisement for a reflexology course at our local technical college. I felt really drawn for some reason. Now I know that it was my intuition kicking in big-time and telling me that this would be a turning point in my life.
I didn’t know that I’d be able to do much, given the pain I was experiencing in my shoulder and left arm, but I thought I could at least watch what was happening and be out socialising and meeting other people This was something I was sorely missing during my long lonely hours at home on sick leave while my husband worked away from home.
Our teacher was a lady who I shall call Meredith to protect her privacy. She was very efficient, very interesting and got us stripping off our footware pretty soon into the session. We all looked at each other a bit nervously. I mean, we’d be touching someone else’s foot and who knows where that foot had been? I told Meredith I had RSI and didn’t know how much I could do. Usually I didn’t go into detail, just told people it was generally in my neck. She took my foot and poked around, but when I winced, she looked up and said: “It’s not actually in your neck, it’s further out in your shoulder, isn’t it?” Wow – spot on! And so was sparked my interest in this form of alternative therapy. It was a stepping stone not only in learning to manage my RSI but in investigating other complementary therapies and, eventually a decade or so later, dumping my old life and moving onto a life of magic with crystals, healing, art and teaching.
Added to her ability to home in on the location of my pain, Meredith did some foot readings for us. I was curious as to what she would see but acutely embarrassed and a riper shade of red by the time she’d finished. She told me I was someone who lacked self-confidence and self-esteem but hid it well by forcing myself to be outgoing. No-one, but NO-ONE, had ever seen my private self hidden inside and I was quite taken aback. I wasn’t on my own though. Everyone else got a foot reading too and looked just as embarrassed as I had as hidden parts of them were pulled out and held up to everyone’s gaze. Was this woman magic or what?
Despite my earlier reservations, I really enjoyed myself right through the course. We were shown how to start a session with a massage of feet and lower legs. And then we moved on to the soles of the feet, the spine along the inner, bony part of your foot, and then moving on to the top of the feet. In reflexology, points on your feet relate to areas of your body and, as you press on those points in your feet, you are activating a healing response in your body.
I had to go carefully due to the RSI pain but I found that the reflexology was actually going some way to giving me longed-for pain relief and that, with the company of the mid-week course, felt like a huge step forward. But more surprises of the metaphysical kind awaited me when we got towards the end of the reflexology part of the course and Meredith told us that the following week we’d be moving on to metamorphosis.
I’m really abbreviating this therapy. Meredith explained that it had been developed in the UK by Robert St John, involved massage along the spinal reflex centres on the feet, hands and head, and worked to release any blocks encountered during one’s time in the uterus as an embryo. What a load of whacko rot and codswallop, I thought (in my really open-minded manner). And I’d begun to think that, despite her involvement in reflexology, Meredith was quite a normal woman. You can see how conservative I was. I really thought she was off her trolley but, again, felt the urge of curiosity pushing me. So I decided to hang on and see what it was all about as it was an alternative to another night at home on my own sitting on the sofa bored witless.
The week we began the metamorphosis, Meredith decided to demonstrate on my foot. I was extremely cynical and very uptight. Then she got to the midway point along the spinal reflex on my right foot (I remember this clearly and precisely, trust me) and it felt as if my whole insides had lurched, as if they’d broken free from their moorings to my body and were in free fall. It was the weirdest feeling and I felt like my world was turning topsy-turvy. How could a simple, light massage like this provoke such a deep shift inside me?
But something had cleared moved within me. Because, subsequently, I found, when we went to practise the technique on other people, I’d start yawning when I reached areas of blockage and sensitivity so somehow I was able to tune in to areas of the spinal reflex which needed extra work.
It’s a technique that continues to work for me today. If I’m doing spiritual healing for someone and I start yawning, I’m aware that stuck stuff is shifting and some healing process is taking place, whatever that may be. It’s literally in the hands of the gods because you don’t do healing yourself. You’re a channel for healing energy and I simply follow my intuition, resting my hands where they feel drawn, tuning into my yawning process and going with the flow. If you see yourself as the healer, you’re into your ego big-time and also you’re likely to find you get tired.
How healing works, if you are inclined to head in that direction yourself, is entirely up to you but the key word is “humility”. You are a channel for healing energy, not the actual healer. You need to be aware of what works for you and to trust that your intuition will lead you to be the best way to be of service to someone who needs healing. This, by the way, has come through trial and error. To go more into the “error” bit, I can remember my friend, Yvonne Tait, doing a Tarot reading for me. She picked up The Emperor card, regarded it thoughtfully and then said: “Don’t be offended, Mo, but I get the impression that, when you’re doing healing work on people, you grab them by the ears and snarl in their face: ‘You will get better if it kills you in the process!”. What can I say? She was spot on.
In fact, when I did a past life course, I had the experience of being a monk at Glastonbury Cathedral. I can remember walking through the beautiful gardens, smelling the divine scents of the flowers, and wandering in the herb garden picking whatever herbs I needed for my healing practice. But then I was told by senior monks to stop healing work as I’d grown impatient with an old peasant and abused him for being slow on the uptake. I had to stop healing work for five years to mature and learn patience.
Whether this is true or not or whether this is something my subconscious created is open to debate. I’m uncertain but what I do know is that I pretty much stopped doing Reiki healing and instead was led into teaching work. I did resume teaching Reiki and healing work, but it was five years before I resumed a healing practice.
After our course ended, Meredith suggested that I get in touch with Sandra (a pseudonym as I wasn’t able to contact me friend for permission to use her name) who practised Touch for Health, also known as muscle balancing or kinesiology, and metamorphosis. More steps along the healing path. My first session with Sandra was excruciating. She seemed to find the most sensitive and painful spots on my body and honed in them with a vengeance. Given she looked a rather slim, gentle-looking person, I nearly fell off the massage table with surprise and shock when she went to work. Over time, she also did a lot of work on me with metamorphosis. I can’t say I felt results straight away but it seemed to be opening me up to a different way of looking at life, one where I was beginning to face up to internal strife which I’d never previously acknowledged.
Over time and with the help of Meredith and then Sandra, the overwhelming pain I was feeling began to abate. But as soon as I returned to work I’d be back at square one. I was working in a one-woman office so the work was waiting for me. And, as happens a lot with illness like RSI, I also faced considerable scepticism about whether the pain was real or whether it was “just in my imagination”. All I knew was that the feeling of rats gnawing my arm was driving me around the twist. Yet I can remember talking with one union member who told me they had arm pain, worked through it and coped okay so, of course, I could too. I can remember looking at her quite incredulously, firstly because I’d tried to bash through the pain and ended up not only at a standstill but in more intense pain, and secondly because she had no idea what sort of pain I was enduring.
Unfortunately, pain is invisible if it’s within the body and not external where it can be seen. All too often, people will dismiss someone’s pain because they can’t see it or quantify it. It’s incredibly frustrating for the person suffering the pain. And, of course, in today’s fast-paced society, people are under pressure to get well fast and be back to normal. Pain is a sign there’s something wrong with your body, and looking back I think my own body was well and truly giving loud signals that it was fed up with the way I was operating and it was out on strike.