When You Get the Hard Truth

I’m lying flat on my back staring at the posters on the ceiling. I’m feeling again like I did as a child at the dentist’s office, reading those encouraging words of advice. Then Lady A (the massage therapist) enters the room and informs me I need to be face down. So I flip over grateful to be in her hands for an hour, not knowing at all what to expect…

For a second, let’s take a step back..

So,…Lady A comes into the dance studio where I work at the exact moment when I’m already deep in conversation with another massage therapist about the “not-so-great” experience I’m having with my current masseuse. You see, for three years now I’ve experienced chronic neck, back and hip pain that slices diagonally across my body from one side to the other. It’s bad…an everyday thing. I don’t talk about it much, because to me, it’s a weakness and I don’t like to complain. But, I was desperate to find someone who could give me some relief.

That’s when she butts in..”Is he helping you?”

I hesitate. Unsure.

“Clearly he’s not,” she says, “or you’d know.” She tells me about her practice, about how she helps people release emotional energy so they can heal. I’m intrigued, so I ask for her card. I called her later to make an appointment.

Fast forward..

So now I’m lying face down and Lady A has her hands on my back. She’s silent, her fingers reading the depths of skin, muscle, tendon and bone beneath them. She begins to speak softly and then louder. She’s located all of my “hot spots” on her own and what she tells me next is hard to hear out loud – the truth…although we never talked about anything other than simple physical pain.

You have so-o-o much tension. …Your body is braced for disaster- Wow! ..here, …I see,.. you feel like you have to hold everything together…all on your own…no one is going to help you… You feel completely responsible for how things are going to turn out…you’re exhausted from trying to do it alone… you’re the sole support it all rests on you…ah, …you want a partner, but you can’t find one…It’s so unfair…You’re very strong, but you’re running, literally on empty…

I think she said more, but I’d stopped listening. We worked on letting go…

When she finished, we talked about spiritual support, about how to keep letting go of these debilitating thoughts and feelings. I left her office feeling pretty raw – wondering how I might get back some sense of my composure…Probably not the reaction Lady A would want me to have :0 Suddenly, getting rid of my back pain became secondary to finding emotional freedom from feeling totally responsible for Everything!

So for a week now, since she dug around in my stuff, I’ve felt a little lost and confused about how I’ll ever be able to let go enough? How will I ever let down my guard, let go of the stuff that keeps me safe from all that could go wrong? And better yet, who would I be without it?

Really letting go of my “strong” seems terrifying. For example, if I fall, who will be there to catch me? Who will pick up the pieces of my mistakes. Hearing the hard truth has left me wondering about how to let go and still manage the high level of responsibility of my job…about how to lean on others, about how to ask for help…about how to keep my high ideals while letting go of my high expectations for myself, my life, even for others? How can I even be creative without driving it all home? I don’t have a clue!

But it’s also left me thinking that maybe this is the answer, the path to finding a more joyous approach to life. Truth is, I am exhausted from the pressure of keeping it all together, from the need to be strong. It’s not that I want someone else to take over…It would just be nice on occasion to feel the weight of a hand on my shoulder that says, “Don’t worry, I got this.” And then allowing life to happen. I want to feel free to do my part without feeling like I have to do it all…Always.

I don’t know where this is all going. It feels scary, but totally the truth of what I need to be doing to get from point A to B. I see Lady A again in a few weeks, so we’ll see where we go from here.

Anyone else recognize the pain and stress of too much independence?






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