Chicago: A Healing Place (Who knew?)

The last few weeks brought crippling anger & grief about my mom. It was an anger, a rage really, that was deeper and more unexpected than I imagined. Fortunately, in the South Suburbs of Chicago where I currently reside, there are incredible natropath healers. Yes, this cultural wasteland, this non-descript “Let’s just wait to fill up in Indiana”, non-rest area, non-stopping place is home to gifted people.

The acupuncture lady I mentioned in my last post, is Penny Will, and she shares an office at the Insight Awareness Center in Homewood, IL.  Not only did she accurately diagnose m liver affliction, but she gave me great herbs to sooth my belly. She’s the only acupuncturist that isn’t an Asian person, who actually mixed herbs for me for tea, based purely on my symptoms. She’s a bright, bubbly person, who has tremendous insight around the emotional nature of the physical affliction. Her skills almost single-handedly set my belly, and my health, on the right path.

When I saw Penny last weekend, it was my second visit with her, and I had a very deep experience at the end where I was lucid dreaming. I was awake, but having dream-like visions. One was scary & intense, and the other was very freeing & beautiful. Sure, my body may have been “ready” to receive those visions, but anybody who sticks needles that produce such rich imagery is pretty talented. I’m truly blessed to know her.

Next I was introduced to Anthony and Mary, who work from their home in Tinley Park, IL, as cranio-sacral bodywork therapists. They also do several other kinds of healing bodywork therapies.  I must admit to you, something about their introduction to me felt like the scene in The Matrix movie where “Neo” visits the oracle in the kitchen of her cramped apartment. Somehow, I had a destiny-ish feeling visiting Anthony & Mary, like I was about to take the “red pill” in the movie, and become totally awake to my true reality.

What happened wasn’t too far off. Both Anthony & Mary did the massage techniques on me together. Mary was at my head, guiding it in a twisting snake-like way that felt very calming & good, but a little scary at first. It seemed like my head was leading her hands, but then she took that energy & lead my head more. It was weird. Anthony focussed on my abdomen and hips. He struck up a conversation with each of my organs.

Then, at a certain point I brought up one of the visions from the previous day. It turns out that the image and my liver were connected. The resulting conversation was too trippy to write about, but let’s just say there was a HUGE emotional release. Shrieks and screams and hollers and gutteral growling sounds came out of my mouth. It was like a demon was being exorcised from my body. I was able to get angry, really angry, and feel ok expressing it. Relief is one word that keeps coming to mind over and over. It was simply a relief to let it go. The bigness of it taught me a lot about a) what I keep inside & don’t realize is there, and b) my role in continuing to keep stuff that isn’t mine, or allow others to mistreat me. It was deeply humbling to realize that although much had transpired between my mom and I when I was young, that I had choices as an adult, choices that I didn’t always make to influence the dynamic between us in a different direction. This process taught me I was much more afriad of her and afriad to stand up for myself to her than I realized.

Since that day, a terrible cold settled in, but it seems to me more like a huge detox of some stored up junk. Although I still struggle with sleep a bit, mainly resisting sleep and resisting the reality of my feelings, I’m much better. The usual anxiety and stress just aren’t there anymore. Some things I learned while conversing with my stomach were to not rush around so much in the morning, and sincerely sit down to eat my breakfast instead of wolfing it down while driving to work. Although it’s made me later a little bit, it’s worth it. My commute time is mellow and relaxing. The rest of my day is mellow and relaxing. It’s just a good idea.

It’s a humble surprise to meet with such amazing bodywork practitioners in Chicago’s South Suburbs. I never would have thunk it possible!

An added bonus to the weekend, was a yoga teacher training workshop with Rama Jyoti Vernon held at the Chicago Yoga Center where I decided to take my teacher training.

Rama was one of the original founders of the Yoga Journal. She has been involved with yoga since the 60’s, and has studied with BKS Iyengar amongst other luminaries. Her workshop focussed on the importance of prana, or the breath, in poses and the entire body/mind system. Maybe because this was my first exposure to yoga teaching, but her class blew me away. Her depth of knowledge about the yoga sutras, the science behind them, and how to apply it in the yoga poses was like nothing I’d ever heard before. I could barely keep up with my note-taking!

Moreover, her style and personality was just plain lovely. She is very calm, and her voice is very soothing. She taught us how to follow the breath in the poses, like we were undulating serpents following waves to our own unique rhythm. I felt like I had been given permission to breath.

As a result, my practice has slowed down quite a bit. I only do a couple of poses each morning, but I stay with them longer. I am reminded to breath & lift my heart more throughout the day. All this deep, full breathing has helped me to let go of the anger & other stuff. The class couldn’t have happened at a better time.

Plus, I was given the opportunity to instruct a partner through a pose, and the feedback was very positive! She liked the quality of my voice, and the guidance of touch I gave had just the right amount of suggestion, but not pressure. She said it allowed her to do the work, but gave her the reminder of which muscles to activate. What a gift! It seems teaching yoga is something I’m naturally good at. I can’t wait to continue the training. It just feels like a path of incredible goodness is unfolding before me.

Despite this, now that the large block of anger was removed, my next resistence is sadness and grief. I’ve been missing my brother a lot. The night of the big bodywork release session, I dreamt about my mom. We didn’t talk, she was just leaning against a yellowish wall. She looked upset. I put my hand on her cheek in a loving and soothing way. There was a feeling of sadness between us both. It caused me to feel guilty for a few days, guilty that I yelled at her. Somehow my mind doesn’t want to accept that it’s ok to be angry at a dead person. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but it really is ok. I’m telling you now, if you are angry at someone who is dead, it’s ok. It doesn’t mean you are crazy. Just be with it.

We carry on. More rains are expected these coming days, much needed thirst-quenching for crops and plants. We nailed a new client at my job, and the office is happy and all a-flutter with activity, and my truck keeps on running despite the check engine light being on. A steadfast stead.

Love to you and yours…


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