Healing thyself / by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 23 days I’ll be posting 500 words a day as part of a creative writing challenge. You can join the fb group here. **


The last two Friday evenings I’ve been working with my friend Chloe. I asked her to be my doula for Jonah’s birth because we did so much bodywork when I was pregnant, though she’s not a doula. I don’t know how to describe her. She is deeply trained in a modality called Body Mind Centering, which maybe sometimes people think of as a type of therapy like cranial sacral, but she is more than the sum of her training. Last week when she worked on me, I literally saw the fucking universe in my body. I’m not exaggerating.

I think it’s called “chasing the dragon,” which is that thing where you have a transformative experience so meaningful that you repeatedly seek to find the expansiveness of that previous experience. I’m pretty sure the phrase works for drugs, too. Last week I had felt this portal(?) in my body open up and I saw individual molecules and time collapse and expand and Aurora Borealis coursing through my neck and shoulder blades. For the first time I deeply understood the subtleties and force of feminine energy. So I mean, I uh, wanted that again.

This week we just talked.

For several months now I’ve had gnarly neck pain, and this week alone I’ve had two epic migraines. I couldn’t wait to work on my eyes and neck. Instead we sat on her couch and talked. About my deeply unsettling and ongoing neighbor situation, about my relationship with Ryan and the roles we both play as surrogates to each other, about learning to heal oneself. Along the way she asked me if it was okay that our session took “this form today,” and I said yes, not understanding that that meant that I also wasn’t going to get on the massage table.

After talking for a while she had me place my fingertips on my eyes, and let my fingertips reach my eyes, without my eyes effort-ing to meet my fingertips. Then to practice receiving what is in the line of sight instead of actively seeing. I didn’t even know that was a thing. In the midst of this, she was instructing and I was doing and I understood, but in the back of my head I kept thinking, “GREAT BUT WHEN DO I GET TO LAY DOWN.” And then she said, “Okay so, I’ll try and make it to your soundbath tomorrow,” and that was that.

I drove towards home. Somewhere between Highland and Vine—I forget where, precisely—I  I noticed that my neck rested softly in its cradle and the tension absent from my eyes. My head felt clear and free. And then I realized the beauty of our work: she had taught me to heal myself.