Kassi Martin's Blog
Moving Towards The Thing I Want To Flee
Hi thereHow are you doing today?
It's October, it's Autumn and it's raining. Three of my favourite, precious "things " in the World. I'm with my Beloved, a fourth favourite & precious thing. I would expect myself to be smiling given the above, however we are driving East towards a difficult meeting.
I wish we were heading North to our beautiful seaside retreat in the East Neuk. I wouldn't bother to unpack the car, I'd go straight to the beach and dash down to the water's edge where it meets the sand. I'd listen to the waves and smell the sea-weedy air. I'd watch the crabs slide sideways, burying themselves deeply in the soft, wet sand. 'Can they breathe down there, will they die?' my curious Child within desperately needs answers. An indication that fear is running deep right now.
If we could only head South to London, I'd go to Camden Passage and wander anonymously around the delightful little shops and cafes and then head to St Paul's Cathedral for some solace. I'm not a religious person, however there is something incredibly peaceful and still about a space that has been prayed in or upon, for hundreds of years. It feels this way in Samye Ling Tibetan Temple. I love that golden stillness that fills that space. Have you ever noticed that kind of stillness?
Back to now though... I keep going off on tangents, disappearing... escaping...
Just think of that for a moment. What an incredible inner conflict this is for us, for our Nervous System. A sort of 'Freeze' response, yet we keep moving towards the scary thing or place. Hmmmm..... pondering what impact this actually has upon our health as we behave in such a way.
How many times have you forced yourself to go towards a 'scary thing', that difficult conversation, that tricky meeting, a painful procedure, a funeral of a loved one... I believe we Humans are faced with this predicament often, perhaps not every day, but weekly possibly.
I am catapulted back to my first day in school. I was just 4 years old - 'almost 5!' I'd have proudly piped up, had I overheard someone say this.
There I was, almost 5: I don't know where I am. I've never been here before and even though it turns out to be just around the corner from Home, I had no idea it existed.
It's a huge building with lots of rooms, a really old building, high ceilings and a musty smell of 'old'. Like old books, old churches. I love that smell, but I didn't sense anything 'good' from this building.
The windows are so high up they can only be reached with a huge wooden pole with a hook on the end. Why on earth would anyone put windows so high up only the Birds could see in? This baffled me. I was a Child who loved to 'escape' through windows with my eyes.
I'm gripping tightly to my Mum's hand. Why has she brought us here today? So early? My hair is in plaits that are so tight some hairs actually nip the very back of my scalp. I have a prickly, scratchy skirt on that I've never worn before and hope never to have to wear again. Mummy is talking quietly to a very old woman in the room. She has small, pointed features, grey hair in a bun that looks as tight as my plaits and she keeps looking at me. I don't like how I feel when she looks at me.
Suddenly a bell rings so loudly that I actually jump with fright. Mum says she has to go but she will definitely be back in a little while and we will have tomato soup together for lunch. I don't know what is happening but it's going too fast.
'I will just come home with you now Mummy,' I suggest, with a very hopeful, shiny-cheeked expression, but a deep, sinking disappointment in my tummy tells me she is going to shake her head, 'No'.
Suddenly the room is filling up with lots and lots of children I've never seen before. I thought my sister and I were the only children. It's so noisy. Chairs scraping across lino. There are lots of Mothers with an array of facial expressions speaking animatedly, firmly, with false, bright smiles. A sea of grey surrounds me and I can't see a single 'real' face anywhere.
Mum quickly heads for the door and I shriek to her to wait for me and as I make the dash over to her, the small, grey haired, pointy faced woman grabs my arm. As I start to cry for my missing Mum, who I am sure was also crying as she slid out the door, I am slapped very hard on my bottom and jerked roughly into a seat.
So this is school.
Coming back to Now and our journey East, I note the time and my tummy heaves a big old wave of fear. Still moving towards the thing I want to run from.
We swap seats. I drive in the City. I know my way around, I worked here for 12 years. Not far now. I see the big white 'H' on the blue background and follow the route, pulling in, I park up. I appear calm. I seem so grown up, strong and able. We walk together through the doors and check in. Sit down.
Wait.... Wait... Wait...
Walls covered in many posters, notices, comments, statistics, rules, appealing for healthy volunteers for trials. Many faces look exactly how I feel. I'm not entirely sure how I feel because I'm only partly present and I imagine they maybe much the same.
Waiting... Waiting.... I ask my Beloved, 'how are you?' for the hundredth time. 'Fine,' he says, but looks wide-eyed as if my voice has just attacked him. We squeeze each others hand which says so much more.
We are called into a small room. Questions. Answers noted. 7 minutes later, ushered out and pointed down a corridor to another room.
....Hang on a minute, I need time. I need time and space to process what has been said, and not said, and hinted at... My face feels hot and ready to explode but I contain my emotions and take a ticket from the same kind of ticket machine at Sainsbury's deli counter...
Wait... Name... Date of Birth...
Then, suddenly we are walking towards an open doorway, out of the dark corridor that smells of old school dinners, where light and fresh air slaps my consciousness wide awake and I feel rain drops on my cheeks ...or are they tears?
Now at last, my Nervous System can function as it needs to. To run, to escape, to get away from, to be free.
My heart is thudding. I can't breathe very easily. I can't hear properly, as if I have huge sea shells placed over my ears. The Therapist in me knows this is 'usual', understandable and these sensations need to be allowed and acknowledged in their own time.
Others might suggest I 'pull myself together,' or 'get a grip,' or 'don't be so dramatic,'. I actually don't care less what others think. I know what my body needs.
We walk quickly towards our car and I drive us to the Sea. It's grey, stormy, damp and cool. I love this kind of day. I feel grateful. It helps bring me back to my senses.
I stare at the waves and let my eyes wander over to the old ruins and smell the sea-weedy air. Freedom. Escape.
We just stand there in the wind, holding hands tightly and my tears send a gentle invitation to my Beloved's tears. We feel relief but are still tangled up with the fear of their need to cover their backs.
I know we are not alone in this experience. Many, many others have these kind of days, regularly, where we have to find a way to contain our fear and keep on going. My point however is this; What does this do to our Nervous System, to our Health?
When our heart races and our mind is sped up so we can't process what is happening. When we feel horribly overwhelmed. We need time, space to process and allow our body to do what it needs to do to get back to a relaxed, regulated state.
Moving on from one thing to the next without taking time to process is so damaging to our Health. We need time to tremble, to shake, to let our teeth chatter and big goose bumps pop rapidly all over our skin.
We need to allow the tears, to sit and stare or maybe even have a bit of a rant. Slamming a door may be viewed as irrational 'out there' and yet Research proves if we need to come back 'fighting' then so be it, this is what is required for our Body, our Mind, our Soul, to recover whatever it has just been through.
We've been taught how we 'should' behave and 'must' control ourselves for way too long in my humble opinion.
To allow, but most importantly of all - to Trust our Body to do what it needs to recover is vital for our Health and Mental Health.
Focusing and Tracking offers us a way to clear trapped adrenaline and free us from the Frozen place we were in, braced for whatever might come our way.
Let's release ourselves from the 'shoulds' and 'musts' of old and simply Be how we feel, following our impulses, moment by moment. For me, as long as I do not cause harm to another, what is the problem with this approach?
If you think I can help you in some way, reach out to me. If you have been helped by me in some way, please share this with an other.
Take good care of you,