The Healing Power of Metaphor

IMG_4368This piece is a continuation of Body Dialogue student, Erin’s writing about our work together. In one of her early sessions, she received an image  that she describes below as a pinball machine. I remembered Marion Woodman, my teacher in BodySoul Rhythms, telling us that when a person receives an image born out of their felt experience, that image can shift the trauma living in the body. Her body was talking to her through this waking dream image.

 Disabling the Pinballs

I envision the multiple episodes of trauma and chronic pain I have experienced as rogue pinballs that have been set loose within my body.  Every muscle, joint and nerve they hit recoils in shock, and forgets how to function properly. Cells bundle together to “guard” the afflicted areas, but in doing so, they prevent healing.  Other muscles try to take over functions they were not designed for. And the mere act of holding myself upright becomes exhausting. So much energy wasted on trying to block the pinballs and drag my body along through the damage…

But now I know there is a better way.  Unplug the pinball machine. This first requires unplugging the mind from all external distractions and solely focusing on the lights, bells, and whistles on the inside, set off by the rogue pinballs.  Then gently tell the muscles, “It doesn’t have to be this way. You can all return to the jobs you were meant for. You have the wisdom. You have the power to heal and strengthen. You can stop setting off alarms.  Just disable the pinballs.”

And for this part, we need the breath.  The breath can unplug the pinball machine.  It can silence the ruckus inside. Send the breath. Send strength. Feel all of the interfering shields come down. Feel the tightness fall away.  Allow the inhale to reel in the cord to the pinball machine, and the exhale to unplug the power. And now the power is not held by dysfunctional habits born of chaos.  Now the power is in your breath.

-Erin Panzella

What can you do to awaken your inner dream language?

Here is a practice to do at home:

Lie down on the floor.

Take a baseline of what your breathing is telling you in this moment.

Notice the places in your body where you are holding tension and feeling pain or discomfort.

Ask yourself the question “Can I let go, and sink into the floor, inviting my bones to be heavy, my joints to release, and ask my mind to let go of judgment?”

Start to slowly release the breath through humming.

It requires very little effort.

Imagine that this hum is traveling through your body like a gentle soft touch, filled with compassion and loving kindness.

Slowly open your mouth and with gentle vowel sounds, let the air pass through your lips without effort and continue to exhale.

Give yourself some time, perhaps a few minutes, to explore micro-movements

You do not have to fight to find it.

Just accept where you are and go from there.

Before you get up to continue your day, notice if any images come to mind, any sensations, any colors.

Has your energy shifted? Do you feel a little softer and more present in the world?

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