Our path to joyous self expression

As I sit here ready to write I have just seen a little girl stride by with a kitten in her arms… The kitten looked resigned, relaxed, prepared – for the moment – to go where the little girl was taking it.

Trusting the hands of the child; as I trusted the hands of the giant man who strode into the massage room yesterday.

My five treatments with Huseyin over the past week were wonderful… Stretching opening, coaxing my body to let go, to surrender any harmful tension. He would leave me at the end to lie in a dimmed room in an ‘out of body state’ –  which I never wanted to end….

I love that space where I am not in my body, where images of other paradigms, lives past and future perhaps, flash in and out like a dream – but I am not sleeping…. An altered state between wake and sleep.

Yesterday’s massage was a different experience entirely!

Anadi and I made a trip to The Kelebek hammam, where for the first part we alternated between sauna, cold pool, steam, rubbing salt over us in a wooden cabin… Back to the cold pool, ending up eventually in a big ‘wet room’ – slabs of marble to lie on – where we were pummelled and scrubbed, foam whooshed on our bodies, more rubbing and massaging, finishing with buckets of water sloshed over us. We were then ferried out one by one as our treatment was done, to lie and relax…

There were about ten of us, all in different ‘stages’ sitting about the hammam in states of bedraggled wet undress…

I didn’t know what would happen next… I was a bit unsure as to what we had booked, so I lay and waited…

After a while a Turkish man appeared who spoke English… He informed me that I could have a twenty minute massage as part of the package, or I could pay more and have an hour 🙂

I paid more… And requested the ‘deep massage…’

Enter very very  big man… A smiley big man. He spoke a little English… We introduced ourselves and he found out I was British…

‘I have been to England once, I have to say I do not like England, I do not like the weather…’ He then said… ‘If there is pain miss Julia, you say…’

I then lay, and practiced my ‘letting go technique’ for painful massages… I pretend I am unconscious in an operation, and that I am trusting the hands that are working on me… In the same way the little kitten was trusting the hands of the little girl… (Although of course were the little girl to start to inflict pain the kitten would behave very differently to me!) So my analogy ends there… Think big, and then think little, in the hands of big!

And so in this state, I am able to let go and not perceive the extreme pressure on my body, as pain… Instead I am unconscious, trusting and letting go… At points my mind started to ‘think’… ‘Not sure I can take this…’ But then I remembered I was ‘unconscious’  and trusted that this man would not break my body… In fact the reverse, that he would help it become more free…

At the end he said … ‘You are stronger than me…I used all my techniques…’

Later on as we were leaving he said again…  ‘You strong, I have men who cry out under my hands, but you; there was no sound…

Although I have frequently been told that I have a high pain threshold… I see that it in part comes through surrendering, letting go, not resisting or tensing up when things are painful and difficult… Which then allows for the pain to release, and ultimately release us rather than cause more pain…

We all know what pain feels like, physical and emotional… We are all united in this understanding… It can be so debilitating, especially when it seems relentless; is relentless…

But as humans we so often try to avoid pain by numbing it, distracting from it, projecting it outwards onto others…

Of course thankfully now, we have pain relief to help us through physical pain and to help us when the emotional pain is too much to bear… When we are unable – at that time – to do the necessary work to heal… When it is too overwhelming.

But it remains that facing and being with our pain can lead us more deeply to ourselves, to freedom and to a deeper inner peace and relaxation… I have experienced much pain in my body over the years; as well as much emotional pain… And I have seen both as routes ultimately to deeper understanding and freedom…

This is not of course always an easy path, and it can be a long one; which is why it is important that the pain doesn’t overwhelm, debilitate to such a degree that there seems no way out… This is where pain relief can be a bridge across to doing the work necessary to find inner freedom…

And then a combination of emotional clearing work and body clearing work has the potential to lead us forward on our path to joyous self expression…