The Next Level of Self-Care – How Mayan Abdominal Massage Brought Me Home to My Body
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.
Hi, I’m April. I’m just a regular human like you, trying to do my best and make the most of this one sacred life.
Early on I felt a deep connection to the earth, a longing to know G-d, and always seemed to hold a curious sense of wonder in my heart, which I still carry with me today. If someone were to ask me what category my faith or spiritual practices fall into, it would be more along the lines of a Christian Mystic, or as someone in India once said, a “Krist Bhakti” (a devotee to the Christ). Although I hold my personal beliefs and experiences dear and have witnessed the Divine step down in love too deep and too profound for words, (and do wish this kind of love and grace for everyone), I also do not feel it is my calling or my job to put my beliefs on anyone else. We all have pieces of the puzzle we are trying to put together and without sharing these pieces with each other, we are less able to see the bigger picture.
As the Divine gently whispered to my soul, “April, you are here to remind people that they even have a soul at all. THAT is your calling. Once they recognize this, the rest is up to them and Me. Can you do this”? To which I replied, “Here I am, send me…but please guide me every step of the way, for I am merely a beggar trying to show other beggars where to find bread.”
I found breathwork during a time when I was searching for relief from PTSD, anxiety, grief, and a deep inner well of fear. I needed help! Breathwork was the most intense, immediate, deep, and life-changing tool, that brought me to and through the trauma of a recent life threatening experience, but also though the layers of trauma that I had been carrying along with me for all of my life.
Sharing breathwork with others brings me deep joy and satisfaction because I know firsthand that it works and have been a witness hundreds of times to this remaining true for others as well. All of the tools I share are tools that can be practiced on your own, are self-lead, and are ultimately tools to help you discover that all you need has already been placed inside of you – since birth – in that very first breath.
Coming from a background in elderly care and hospice work, I have had front row seats to the miracle of life that is simply and profoundly held in the breath. Breath is Life and Life is given to each and every one of us, as a gift from the Divine. If you want to connect to the Source of Life and Healing, the breath is the key that can open that door for you.
It is my deepest honor to be here to share this practice with you and to hold a safe and sacred space to explore this part of your journey, no matter what bend in the road you are on.
If you are intrigued and wonder what this is all about or if this is for you, I personally welcome you to reach you to me.
I look forward to getting to know you and to sharing this practice with you.
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