My First Craniosacral Therapy Session
Here’s a true one.
So, I had a friend who would rave about these “craniosacral therapy” appointments she’d get. (Yeah, I had to Google that when I heard it. Go ahead, I’ll wait)
Every time she saw her therapist (6-12 months or so), she’d go bonkers about it for a week straight. And, every time, she’d try as hard as she could to explain the true nature of this crazy massage+spine alignment+mystic light healing thing. And each time, I swear I just got more confused about what the heck she was talking about.
“Look, bro. You’ve just gotta try it, mmmmkkkk?” she used to say. Over and over.
So, I tried it. In early August 2020, I called my friend’s massage therapist guru and booked my first appointment.
The therapist came to my house later that week. It was a weekday, early afternoon. I should state it now, because any right-minded person would surely ask after reading: I was completely in a right state of mind, not under the influence of any drink or drug or drive-through dinery. I even had a healthy breakfast.
The therapist arrived and set up her table in the den. She was kind, and gentle. She talked as she prepared the table, explaining what this whole shebang is all about. I still didn’t understand it, to be honest, but hey that’s not her fault. Seeing as my 120-hr masters degree isn’t in this particular field of mystical juju, I was comfortable just trusting my friend – I know her. Knowing her plus seeing her genuine personal experience of it had earned me being – at the least – truly open minded about it (and thus, trusting. And thus, vulnerable.)
So, I made myself vulnerable.
Now, before beginning the massage, the therapist addressed the topic of “messages.” She told me that often times her “guides” give her messages as she is doing her work. She asked me if I would like for her to speak these messages aloud as she receives them.
Hmm. Now… I’ve some personal context (ok, and perhaps negative baggage) among the various recepies cooked up in the ol’ American juju cauldron of spirituality. And so, just in general, I’m highly speculative (and just barely witholding being dismissive) of people who talk unapologetically this way. Not because I don’t believe in that sort of thing (because I DO) but because I believe most people don’t know what they’re talking about and/or are full of their ow crap and/or etc etc I could go on and on. But I will refrain. *Sigh*
So, I reply with: “Sure.”
She explains that she won’t really be able to clarify what she says, after the session is over. She’ll be in the zone (or something… I can’t remember how she said it). She cautions that, after the session is over, she won’t be able to remember exactly what she had said during the session. She tells me this almost apologetically, sadly remarking it as a “common occurrence for light workers like myself.”
Light workers? Can’t say I’ve ever heard that one. In a movie once, maybe. Since I didn’t exactly know how to reply, I went with “Sounds good. Thanks for the heads up.”
The first 30 minutes was a sort of standard massage. Nothing much to say here about it.
But then came the cranio sacral or whatever part, the final 30 minutes. And that, my friends, is where things got interesting.
So for this part, there was some kinda head alignment thing. I do remember that. There was also music…and oils, I think. Strong scents. Maybe those were there during the massage, too? Honestly, I’m not sure what else there was in terms of the room or experience itself, because lemme just tell ya: 5 minutes into this thing, and I straight-up went to another place. Like, The Matrix. I don’t know how else to say it other than that. And yes I know that sounds cray cray. But I’m just telling you what happened, and owning it completely as a true personal experience of my conscious reality.
I remember everything I experienced. Quite vividly. (I also wrote everything down immediately after.)
So, we are 5 minutes into the cranio-sacral part. Mentally and emotionally, I’m in a place of sincere mindfulness. I wanted to be here. I’ve been looking forward to this, and if I was gonna spend around $200 on it (which I did), I wanted to get the most outta the thing. I was excited (and nervous). I slowed my breathing, emptied all thoughts, did all my various “here I am Abba Lord” business, the whole gambit. Took me a good 5 minutes to get to centered, but I got there.
And as soon as I did, the therapist suddenly says out loud, very softly and slowly and intentionally:
“You are not here for pain.”
This must be the part where she gives me “messages” from her guides-or-whatever. Yay! Time to find out if this thing is a load of BS or not.
Yeah lady, I know I’m not here for pain, I say in my head. Got it. Check. Next.
I actually noticed my own self-defensive reaction. I found it very odd, and worth observing. I stay silent.
“You… did not come here… to suffer.”
I notice i’m starting to feel…. uncomfortable. And….angry?
“You… are not here… to be miserable.”
Ok. Now I feel exposed. Like, totally exposed. An inexplicable panic hit me, like she knows me, and I’m being “seen.” And It scared me.
“They want you to know…” she continued, “that you are not here to suffer. You did not come here, in this time, for the purpose of painful misery.”
I’m crying. Oh crap i’m crying. Why am I crying??
“YES I DID” something/someone inside myself yelled out angrily at her (in my head -… I didn’t say it aloud). But I could feel the struggle inside myself, observe it even. It was like I was watching myself become enraged with hate, the anger triggered and refreshed by every single word she spoke.
I remember observing that reaction of rage in myself, becoming suddenly and extremely curious about the fact that the rage even existed. Astounded by it, even. Wow – rage? Anger? Really, Self? Why so angry? Never would have pegged you as an angry person. That rage though…. Seriously, dude – check yourself. You’re suddenly pissed and angry like a bratty child right now at what she just said – why are you so mad at a comforting statement like, “You’re not here to suffer?”
And as I continued to observe myself and my own emotions in this way. And I saw what was underneath. I observed the true nature of my childish anger, just like spotting it in a friend or person I am in deep conversation with or am counselling. I saw that underneath my rage, there was pain. And that this pain came from a great, deep unacknowledged grief. And it was as black as night. The level of introspection was insane.
Ooooh crap. Wtf is going on.
She spoke again“Your purpose… is not…. to suffer… and die.”
YES IT IS something/someone inside screamed back, now in tears.
I laid there, observing myself and my reaction to her, like I was watching someone else. I could empath so much pain of this person, this person way way deep down inside myself, who was crying out angrily at her words. I could feel the emotions of myself, hearing this person (whom I now know as my own “inner child” and Shadow) and feeling such a sense of absolute love for him and acceptance of him. A father’s love. Unconditional love. My god – what deep love I felt for him in that moment. Indescribable. I remember empathizing with this person’s pain (my pain), and seeing how deep it went for him. I broke for him, and for his grief which had been rejected for so long and not integrated into his full consciousness. I hurt with him, and felt such complete love for him and commitment to him.
And then I heard water. Trickling. Like the tiniest spring or small creek in the woods.
“I hear water,” I said aloud.
Crap, I thought. I didn’t mean to say that aloud.
She didn’t respond.
The water sound grew louder, and wider. The trickles were swallowed up by gurgles of a small stream.
Feeling this was very important somehow, I spoke again. “It’s running water,” I said. “Like, a stream through the woods.”
The stream grew wider and the gurgles deeper. It was now a small river.
“Rushing rapids?” she softly asks.
“Um,” I responded. How did she know… “It’s more like….”
And then I heard it all get bigger somehow, the water sounds. The gurgle swelled wider into water slaps and soft splashes in full motion, a wide soft steady flow.
“What color is it?” she asks me.
I remember thinking, lady, this is a child’s game. There isn’t a real river. How am I supposed to know what color it is? I recognized that objection coming from the part of myself that had spoken earlier, the part of myself consumed with grief. I acknowledged his presence and his reaction, which made me be able to set it to the side with empathy.
“Can you see it? Is there a color?” she asks again.
I try to reply. “Um…”
Open your eyes, I tell myself.
And so I do. Suddenly, I could see, and feel, and experience everything. I don’t know how to explain this. Best way I can think to describe it is: think of the most realistic dream you’ve ever had in your own personal life… and just imagine having that same dream, the same night you had it, but while you were fully awake and aware and able to watch it and experience it consciously.
So I “opened my eyes.” And right away I could see that there was a river, and the water was sparkling with golden light. My eyes followed it up as it flowed to a bend, and I could see that it was flowing through a forest.
But there was something spectacular: everything was gold. Not just the river; all things. There was a hue in the air, in these woods, and everything was overcast with a gold color. The air itself was gold. Well, to be more accurate: some color between gold and light. One and the same, really. A golden light.
The hue of this golden light touched everything. It overcast all things with this single hue, as how a person might see when looking at his surroundings through a lens. But there were no lenses here. Just light, alive and living in the air. The source of this light was everywhere. There was no source. The hue touched all, equally.
The trees, the river, the dirt, the leaves, all of it… golden light. Take the deepest, most dark forest you can imagine, and reverse it. Like the darkness touches every tree in a deep scary wood, this was a forest of living light. It was unlike anything I have even seen, in imagination or print or movie screen. Mind-blowing. Everything was light.
The sound of water begin to gently lap rather than quickly run. I was brought, slowly, from the river to the forest edge (which, again, this and everything else is all bathed in golden light). Setting foot on the ground, I heard the birds up in the tree canopy, gently singing the most welcoming song. They felt at peace, calm, at rest. They welcomed me, it seemed. It seemed I was returning. (I then observed that thought of mine, noting it as kinda crazy. But I accepted it, and honored its existence, and continued.)
This place feels familiar, I thought.
Looking up I could see a small path. A skinny foot-trodden path leading away from shore and snaking its way through the trees. Aspen trees – all of them. With slow, cool shimmering leaves. I thought it to be a local path, used by few or several, perhaps leading to a homestead nearby.
I stepped from the river onto the shore. I began to walk the path, leading into the woods.
I know this place, I realized. I remember thinking how crazy it is to think that, or believe it, or let alone say it aloud to anyone. This is all so completely unverifiable and sounds like crazy town. But… it’s a knowing. And although it is a knowing I cannot possibly explain, it is a knowing nonetheless. I was scared by this at first. This truth. But, as I walked that path, I slowly and curiously embraced it and continued walking.
I could see nothing now but golden forest, all around me. Aspen trees (or trees like them). The leaves all shimmering and dancing with light reflecting and jumping from one leaf to the other.
The sound of children at play suddenly came to my ears. I could hear them. Playing games. Laughing. Singing songs. Teasing. I could not see them; I only heard their voices through the trees – to the left of the path and back down towards the river. I did not recognize their voices belonging to anyone I personally know. But I did feel as if I knew them, or had known them. What beautiful, happy people live here, I remembering thinking. A family must be here, I remember thinking, whose home is surely just up ahead.
I walked on. Slowly yet steadily, the children’s voices were drowned out by the sound of clanging metal up the path. The sound was methodical. Repetitious. Intentional. A blacksmith – at work, striking the anvil near his forge. Perhaps this path leads to a small village, I speculated.
I continued my walk, as did the blacksmith with his hammering. Such a slow sad hammering, I thought as I walked along. (I’m not exactly sure why I thought this. I have no idea – but I knew it was true.) I could feel his sad pain with every strike. It was in the vibration of it – there was a knowing, in the sound. I know him… I thought.
I kept walking the path. I wanted to get closer, and luckily the path was leading straight in the direction of the sound. It must be just ahead, I thought. Walking further into this deep bright forest, I saw the trees begin to thin, giving way to a small clearing. And there, in this cabin of skylight surrounded by the trees, there stood a small homestead. I saw a house, and a barn, and blacksmith forge all clumped close together and surrounded by this golden forest. There was a shaft of light shining on it through the hole in the treetops. What a beautiful place, this. The voices of the children were coming from the river, down the path I had just taken. They were splashing there, laughing and playing. I suddenly felt the most intense feeling of “home” I have ever felt in my entire personal life. It was everything that word intends to represent.
At the same time, however, I was struck with another feeling when I saw the homestead: I could suddenly empath this place as if seeing and feeling through another’s eyes – and the sadness was immense. Something beautiful, yes, but no more. Looking at the homestead with these eyes I sensed grief and loss and a particular pain that comes when you suddenly find yourself at a thing’s end.
The voices of the children, coming from the river, slowly faded out – as if someone slowly turned down a large volume dial. The birds had gone silent. Only the river’s subtle shushing coming through the trees…. And a loud, deliberate hammer. The blacksmith. On his anvil. Slowly hammering. On. And On. And on. And growing louder.
And then I was right there, standing behind the blacksmith. Looking right at him.
== Continued in Part 2