For several years, a sweet lady would occasionally walk her two tiny dogs past my office and say hello.
“One of these days, I’m going to book an appointment with you!”
And one day, she did.
That began a journey of trust and the recovery of her breath. Eventually, she shared that her childhood was branded by sexual abuse. Deep breathing became, for her, the place where the horrendous trauma could at last be faced, with the help of her psychotherapist.
Dissociation was frequent but over the course of a year or so, she found that she was able to stay connected to her breath, and thus stay engaged in the bodywork, longer and longer periods of time. At the end of one, particularly quiet session of 90 minutes with deep breathing, she made this statement.
“For the first time, ever, I was able to stay completely present for the massage with my breath. I visualized walking through every room of my grandmother’s house. I took in the curio shelves, the spices in the kitchen, the smells, and the texture of her bedspread. My grandmother’s house was the only place I ever felt truly safe, as a child. This massage was a journey back to that safe place, and being completely here, in this moment at the same time. I was breathing now deeply and applying this breath BACK to the traumatic times when I couldn’t breathe as a child, and I did it all in the safely and comfort of my grandmother’s house. “