I thought I knew what Self-Care was until I worked with Jillian Anderson, and let me tell you…I am Never lowering my standards AGAIN!
This week I had the incredible honor of experiencing a Mayan Abdominal Massage.
Before I go into my experience, I first need to give you a little background.
In the past 4 years (since our daughter was born), my belly (that was once a predictably stronger area of my body), became a place of trauma, fear, and also shame. It felt like my own body had betrayed me and couldn’t be trusted. During my pregnancy it was discovered that I had fibroids, which were thought to be non-invasive and basically harmless. Boy, I wish that turned out to be true. After 51 hours of labor, I waved my white flag and had a C-section. 3 weeks later (when I was home with our new baby, thinking everything traumatic was behind me), I had a uterine hemorrhage and lost all of my blood. So…after multiple surgeries (including re-opening my unhealed C-section wound), blood transfusions and other procedures, I came through the other side. But….my belly became a place of terror for me. I was afraid to look at it, breathe into it, or exercise. It literally became a living memory of all that I had gone through…except by living detached from this area of my body, I was giving it power to actually STILL be my present experience, if that makes sense? Just because we aren’t looking at something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Often times when we finally do look, witness, and try to understand that which we fear or hide from, we discover a whole world of possibilities and growth, and new found strength.
Jillian and I have been discussing Mayan Abdominal Massage for months….and months ..and months…and how it could be a pivotal piece in my healing, but my fear dug it’s stubborn little heels into the ground and kept me back. I now know it was THE pivotal piece in my healing. My breathwork meditation practice has greatly brought healing to my heart and soul (and revealed where my fears were hiding in my body), and this abdominal massage was the Medicine to truly welcome myself back into my body.
And…I totally just cried typing that last sentence.
Because it is true.
And I am so grateful.
And every woman needs to do this!
Here is Why…
Imagine the warmth and comfort you had as a baby; swaddled in blankets, tucked in just right, being rocked, and swayed. This was the feeling I had from beginning to end. The comfort and support of feminine energy was so incredibly nurturing, attentive, and loving. Throughout the session, Jillian checked in to let me know that she was looking for different pulses, or checking my lymph, or other signs of tension or imbalance. Breathing was a key component to this work as well (which I loved). Jillian’s breath techniques lead me to do the same, many times without any other verbal communication. I felt completely safe and like my breath was giving my body consent to let go and accept the healing from this Earth-Angel’s hands. I recall observing my own body like I have never done before. As each area came into my awareness, I was reminded of a terrible car accident I had been in, or a time I suffered an injury while helping another person, or the beautiful child I had birthed. I had thanked God many times for helping me through these events..but in these moments I found myself thanking MY BODY for carrying me through, which is something I have only more recently begun to practice. We can often forget to thank our bodies, however they are the home for our souls and deserve to be honored and cared for just like we do our physical houses.
At one point during the treatment, I had a vision and I saw what looked like Jillian standing by me but she was all white. There were beams of white light pulsating down from above and inside of her and out through her hands as she worked on me. The light in her hands became a white dove (a sign of the Holy Spirit) and it spread it wings and flew off. Umm…what? Well, whatever, I don’t know, but I’m taking it because it added to the amazing experience.
By the time we began work on my lower abdomen (where all the trauma hung out), I was floating and felt like a limp noodle. I continued to follow Jillian’s guidance for the breath and felt my body opening and releasing tension I didn’t even know I had. When she placed her hands on my C-section scars, my mouth immediately began to tingle with what felt like electrical current. This is something I am familiar with when working with breathwork clients and I recognize it as energy being released. As soon as I felt it around my mouth, I knew in my heart that it was all of the unexpressed fear and sadness and anger I had squashed down inside my belly. I knew it was connected to this event and for the first time I realized how strong I actually was to have gone through this trauma…and suddenly felt pride and honor and SO MUCH LOVE for my body.
Besides the incredible spiritual aspects of this session (which I am eternally grateful for), the physical experience of this work is like nothing I have ever experienced. I went to massage therapy school, I have had many massages in my life, but this was not a massage. It was SO much more. It was mind, body, and spirit work and It was truly enlightening.
If I were a ship, lost in a raging storm at sea, Jillian was steadily and skillfully working the mast, and guiding my ship home.
If you are a woman, this is an absolute MUST on your Self-Care list, whether you are a mother or not! It not only will nurture and connect you to your body, but it will also connect you to your heart and spirit in ways these words can not describe.