Opening to a New Life

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For many of us, this super moon marked a time of huge energy shifts, and releasing old stories that no longer serve us. Releasing those stories and opening up to a new life is a death/rebirth process. It requires imagination to envision what is possible. It also requires a willingness to have a new experience. Through the work of Body Dialogue,
Erin Panzella was able to imagine and create a new story.
My relationship with Erin, my student in Body Dialogue, exemplifies the power of finding one’s metaphor to embark on such a healing journey. When Erin came to me, I intuitively knew that unless we found the root of her story in her body, she would continue to carry the pain that had been her identity since her childhood.

Below is an introduction to Erin, who will be sharing her story throughout several blog
posts to come.


My name is Erin Panzella. I have been a student of Janice’s for the past four years. My
journey with chronic pain began as a child with undiagnosed gastrointestinal disorders,
and has continued on in my adult life due to a traumatic back injury that resulted in
spinal fusion surgery. When I finally felt recovered from the surgery, I suffered a car
accident which sent me into a tailspin of pain.

When I first met Janice, it seemed I had already exhausted all other modalities of getting
out of pain. I felt completely hopeless, yet also cracked wide open. This state of
vulnerability meant I was receptive to a new process. Janice understood that my trauma
was more than just the symptoms I displayed. Her goal was to go underneath the pain
and listen to the messages it was speaking. This helped me to shift my focus from trying
to “fix” myself to trying to understand how the pain and fear were consuming my
identity. This process required trust and vulnerability that were first cultivated through
my participation in a couple of retreats lead by Janice. During my first Body Dialogue
session, the following images came to me. The River became a metaphor for my healing…

The River

Artwork by Janice Stieber-Rous

Artwork by Janice Stieber-Rous

I’ve been crushed under the weight of generations
Worth of Shame, Doubt, and the Burden of
Being a woman,
A lesser creature,
Only worthy of whatever
Men are willing to give.
I’ve been striving so hard
To carry this load
That my bones have contorted
And my muscles have knotted themselves
And I’m so acutely aware
Of the Pain,
That I can’t even begin to imagine
Who I am without it
Until someone said,
“Here, let me…”
Hands loosening my knots
Breath resetting my bones.
I was finally able to recall
A time that was absolutely mine…
Splashing in The Little Colorado River,
With my friend who has always been
There was no past
No future
No disappointment
No expectations-
Just bliss, clean and free
And so the hands help me
Ease into the river
Where I expel
The Pain and Shame from my body,
The water carrying it all
Out and away
I release, exhale
And hold the image of a setting desert sun
As the reference point for my new center

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