When I was a kid, there was a huge blackout in New York City. The whole region lost power, right up into Canada. Our family huddled together in the dark. But we had a secret weapon. Gas. We had a gas stove, so we could cook dinner. It was serious magic.
I’ve had gas stoves ever since; now that I live in an area with frequent power outages (and occasional -40F temperatures), I have gas heat too. And a wood stove sitting in the shed. Just in case. Yes, I have cut down trees, lugged them home, cut them up, and split the wood. I have the tools.
When our power comes from outside—like our electricity—we are at the whim of that provider.
When our power comes from inside— Well. That’s something else.
We all have that inner power. Some of us are unaware of it. Some of us run from it. Some of us abuse it. Some of us have been severely punished for even glancing at it. But it’s here. It’s still here. It’s always here.
So what do we do with it?
How do we access our power in a safe, productive, sustainable way?
Or is all that “safe” business just hedging our bets?
We have immense power, whether we use it consciously or not. But to abnegate our power (renounce, disbelieve, or reject it) is far more dangerous than to embrace it, welcome it, and learn to wield it in grace and harmony.
Here’s the problem. When we stuff things long enough, their combined mass and weight becomes just a little… alarming.
What if it gets out?
Like the Incredible Hulk?
And wreaks HAVOC?
Yeah, it’s scary.
And we may feel guilty for wanting to rip someone’s face off. Like, if we started, we wouldn’t stop. But honestly, this is just a normal reaction to chronically unresolved helplessness and freeze. It’s called “murderous rage.” Yep, that’s the technical term. 0.o.
Soooo, since we’d probably get in trouble if we actually did that, but that stored, short-circuited energy reeeaalllly wants to be expressed, so we can reset the nervous system…
So we go slowly.
This is why Slow Movement.
It is an element of this practice that resonates with Somatic Experiencing®. In a session, when a practitioner notices a client’s body movement, they often ask the client to repeat the movement—slowly. Very slowly. More slowly…
And wow, shit opens up and vibrates.
I worked in this way with a friend who had been bullied in her previous job. She is very assertive, more of a fight person than flight, but this boss… Months later she had not recovered her verve, suffering from sleeplessness, fatigue, pain, and anxiety. We agreed to try some of what I had been learning (I’m in a three-year Somatic Experiencing® training program).
During the session, she mentioned a specific incident in which she had been unable to defend herself. I asked her what her body had wanted to do at the time. Then I invited her to do it. She punched the hell out of that two-bit dictator. Slowly. Very slowly. More slowly (with all the intent and energy stored within that reaction).
When scary negative things come up, I invite you also to consider asking your body what it wants/wanted to do. To let your body move as it wishes. But slowly. Very slowly. Even more slowly. With all the intent and energy stored within that reaction. Butoh, baby. Put it all in there.
Then let it go. Relax, shake it out, run, move crazy, cough, kiyai (the martial arts vocal expression that accompanies a blow). Then give yourself some love. And have a nap.
My friend? She’s back. Yep, 100%. It took more than this, but this was the beginning.
Hugs and kisses and all my love,
Here’s some good music for that.
It’s only 11 mins, so here’s something to round it out.