Welcome To The Party, Breaux

My body is internally “buzzing.” I’m not so aware of it when moving around, but if I stand, sit or lie down, I can feel an electrical activeness within my tissues. Less than a buzzing, really; it’s more of an internal vibration. I park in front of the massage therapist’s building, shut off the car and sit for a second. The vibration is obviousfeeling. It’s like the car’s engine is idling and the whole car is vibrating. But I shut it off…and my car is all-electric anyway; it has no engine.

It’s so subtle, I cannot tell whether the vibration is coming from within me or from the earth. This all started yesterday in the immediate aftermath of what I’m calling the big breakthrough (on Oct 12th).

Tamara greets me at the entrance to her building and takes my temp (Covid precaution). I’m clear! That’s when I start telling her, “I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this, but I’ve been doing these somatic therapy sessions lately, and, uhm… yesterday was a pretty big day. I was thinking maybe you could kinda…” I jockey my hands in front to unconsciously gesture how uncertain I feel towards my own words,  “…re-balance me.” My voice actually curls up at the end so it’s more like I’m asking. That’s when Tamara tells me she’s done somatic experiencing herself and is also trained in the practice. Holy mountain of dark chocolate, WHAT!?! 

Seriously! I had no idea she had experience with this stuff. I thought Tamara was just a regular massage therapist. Suddenly, she’s my “shaman.” 

Pause… wait, what’s going on here?

Once I had moved from being emotionally blocked to open, very quickly coincidences, lucky breaks, and other seemingly random events told a very different story from the one I thought existed. Second pause… I am by no means pointing to a single fortuitous happenstance with a massage therapist and saying “Ah HA!” Not at all. Since the previous day’s breakthrough I’ve been seeing and feeling an entire kaleidoscopic montage of connectedness everywhere. Knowing Tamara was exactly the right person for me at that moment felt like overwhelming confirmation that the universe has some sort of meaningful flow to it. GASP! I said it.

More on this new-agey mumbo-jumbo later, so stick around for that [or run in the other direction…Rick]. For my money, however, the real reason to keep reading is because a little later you will join me underneath the cream-colored sheets on Tamara’s massage table in nuttin’ but me skivvies. I promise you it will be the most bizarre massage experience EVER!


As Real As Gravity

“But we haven’t even gotten to the craziest part of it.” That was the teaser that ended my last post. Was I exaggerating? You will judge– tears flowing on a massage table….sadness trapped inside my buttocks (hip)….orange bolts of energy shooting from my head? Maybe this is normal in your world, but it sure seems pretty crazy to me. [By the way, sincere hugs to those that communicated with me how much Significant Conditions resonated with them. There was definitely a lot there!]

Embedded within all the strangeness you’ll be hearing about in this post, I was just sharp enough to pull out three “super-truths.” And by that I mean universal truths. Like…I can’t see it, but this feels just as real as gravity type of truths. All three truths will tumble forth for you as this post unfolds. But here… since I’ve already half-given one away in the opener, I’ll just say it for you plainly…sans the gasp: Everything is connected. 

Last thing before we move on. If at any point I start sounding like a “life coach” or a mystic, please know it’s unintentional. My whole M-O has been and will be to simply tell you what happened.  I won’t stop now.


Universe Schmuniverse

One of my very good friends here in the Denver area is Dr Becky Chance. She’s both a basic knucklehead (like me) but she’s also a bad-ass who earned her PhD just last year at 45 years of age. If you’ve kept up with my blog from the start, it is my own muddled “hero’s journey” that you’ve been reading. Well, Becky has been on quite a hero’s journey herself. In fact, if her and I were to compare personal growth timelines, she’s leading me by about two years. 

Similar to me and my situation, Becky has had to overcome the challenges of a childhood filled with trauma. But, thanks to a course of her own therapy (the more traditional type), Becky managed to move herself to the healing side of trauma a couple of years ago. As this shift was occurring within her, there were no big breakthrough moments (such as what I experienced). What Becky got instead was the cumulative effect of hundreds of ah-ha moments, each one a shift towards everything in her life taking on new meaning. At her own pace, and when she was ready, Becky moved from blocked to open. As this happened, she was able to make connections between the string of life events that led her into a new reality– one where the universe reveals its true nature on a daily basis. 

Becky and I had dozens of past conversations where she would tell me about something that happened in her life that…maybe, didn’t quite go like she thought it would. But she would say to me, “I guess that’s not what the universe wants for me.”  Annoying, right?!

Bumped and Nudged

My own personal mistrust of the guided by the universe concept is on display several times within this blog. It’s wrapped in the things-happen-for-a-reason packaging, but it’s really the same enigma. I’ll happily admit that a great many things have come together for me this year. All of the twists, turns, epiphanies, people, things, events… they seem to have been neatly aligned to bump and nudge me towards this really sweet state of being I find myself in right now. But is it really “forces of the universe” doing the work? 

Whenever Becky would use this phrase about what the universe wants, I found myself stuck between an eye-roll and a 10 minute rambling soliloquy about how such talk doesn’t quite add up for me. My wagon has been hitched to the “not buying it” pull-car ever since I departed the nonsensical village of Christianity at age 16. I even look back at my childhood full of Jesus with a good deal of condemnation (how ironic). Not to veer too far off course, but… I once heard it said about both religion and masturbationneither should be done in front of children.  [Amen to that!]

But now get this. All of my universe-schmuniverse thinking came at a time when my modern mind-self was blocked by trauma from my ancient body-self (Explanation). Once these somatic experiences opened up access to the body-self’s vibration, the universe got a whole lot closer. Suddenly, I wasn’t just looking back at twists, turns, epiphanies, people, things, events and wondering if they are connected, I could intuitively feel their connection. Yes, everything really is connected

Whether you can feel it or not could indicate which side of the blocked / open divide you might be on. But don’t think too much about that right now (if you’re blocked you probably won’t get it anyway), I’ve got to move on to my second and third big truths and how they both sprang from a fractal in nature. [If anyone can figure out what I mean by this, I’ll Venmo you $10 (just to the 1st person, please. (..and maybe the 2nd))]


I’d love for you to have a better feel for the progression of my somatic therapy sessions over the course of the last six months. I’ll describe it using terms all red-blooded Americans will understand- Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!? 

You are looking at a football field. When my somatic therapy sessions began in May, I was starting at the goaline with 100 yards to go. Every weekly visit was a simple, predictable 1, 2, or 3 yard run up the middle. BORING! –Go, talk a little, try to meditate, talk a little more, drive home. But I never punted and was steadily (albeit unconsciously) gaining enough on each play to keep the drive alive. The good thing about this therapy was that I never lost yards. With every weekly visit, the gains were virtually imperceptible to me, but I was moving forward. 

My particular type of trauma, the kind that left me emotionally blocked, is a tough dam to bring down therapeutically. The biggest gain I made was maybe about a 7 yard run at the start of the analogous second quarter. I was using ketamine in my sessions at that time and finally managed to access a worthy cry after punching a sofa cushion with my fist. That session was followed by a couple of no-gainers, so then I switched to cannabis and kept on fighting for small yardage up the middle. 

After 5 months of weekly visits, I was only at mid-field. Granted, I had no sense of my field position at the time. I just knew it had been slow-going and the endzone didn’t look so close. I needed a big play. And got one- my first somatic experience. I’ll call it a 15 yard pass to the tight-end. I missed a week due to scheduling, but once back in the clinic for my next sesh, I completed another pass to the wide-receiver for a gain of 20! Then, on my day of six somatic experience cycles…I scored a touchdown! 

To be sure, this did not mean the game was won. Scoring a touchdown was a game-changer for sure, (and my end-zone dance was EPIC!). But I also knew that the 5,000 ruptures I harbored in my body could not be vanquished in one play, regardless of how spectacular it was. 

The week after the touchdown, I aimed for a two-point conversion…. and got it. More somatic cycles, more breakthroughs, and even more deep truths revealed about how the universe actually works. 

Get Out The Way

I love the football analogy because it makes clear that somatic therapy is a bit of a grind. But, once my first genuine somatic experience was in the bag, I was almost there. So, if any of you therapy-inclined friends out there want to check-out somatic therapy for yourselves, you will have an almost unfair head start because I’m about to tell you one of the keys to doing it. 

When I go down into a meditative state and mentally zoom around my body in search of bigfoot, I mean, signals coming from my body, or the somatic experiencing “wavelength,” or whatever we want to call it… what I should really be focused on is simply getting my ever-vigilant mind-self out of the way. If I were starting my somatic therapy today from scratch with this knowledge….? Fuggetaboutit! I could have shortened the field and been doing my endzone dance in far less time than 6 months. 

I know I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the nitty-gritty details of somatic experiencing, but not without good reason. This point about getting your mind out of the way is a slam dunk, money-saving, take-it-from-me, pro-tip for anyone interested in doing somatic therapy work themselves. And, it is also the second of my three new big truths! 

So, where are we? #1 Everything is connected. #2 Get out of the way. Let me show you how this figures into real life and how not knowing any of this led me to my life’s biggest regret.

Off By One Degree

Hands down, my biggest fumble in life [wait, I think we’re done with the football analogy] was getting my degree in accounting. I understand today why I made this poor decision way back when, but that does not soothe my regret. It all traces back to childhood trauma, wouldn’t you know. And also to my first and second big truths.

I chose accounting for purely practical reasons. You’ll always have a job, is what I heard over and over again. They weren’t wrong, either. But where was the advice about making a decision based on what I was feeling? Since I was way blocked from my feelings at 23 years old, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, but still. If I’d had access to my feelings and, by extension, was open to that whole universe business, the right answer would have come to me….if only I could have gotten my mind out of the way. All that practical thinking definitely steered me onto a career path that was ultimately not a good fit. 

Coulda-shoulda-woulda, right? I wonder how many signs I walked past because I was too blocked to see them. If signs were there, the gentlest and truest interpretation of my missing them is that I was simply not ready.

Which leads me to that third big truth. And wait until you see where I find it. 


This is a long post, folks. My apologies for that. And you’re only about half-way through. Ugh! But I have some good news. This last part is FASCINATING!!! So, take yourself a little bio-break and then buckle-it up for the bizarre massage and other Gary’s Believe It Or Not moments.

Also, this will be my last post for a while. I need to dedicate time to filling out the Visa application for Spain. Andole! It has been an absolute blast of learning, growing and sharing! Thank you so so much for being a part of it!!

Welcome to the Party, Breaux feels like a good place to draw “Act 1” of the 1MoreWorld blog to a positive and gentle soft-close.


So Where’s My Damn Sadness

Somewhere in the midst of one of the six somatic cycles on touchdown day, Gabe asked me if I could “find my sadness.” I scanned around my body and with a little voice answered only, “I don’t know.” At that point in time, the concept behind Gabe’s question was still very foreign to me. Once I am in Tamara’s hands, it will be found. And I promise we’re almost there. But first…

This wackadoodle notion of the body having “stored-up emotions” has not been an easy one for me to wrap my head around. But the more of this somatic experiencing I do, the easier it is to internally feel this is exactly what happens when traumatic situations are not processed appropriately, especially in childhood. When you are not allowed to cycle-through intense emotions, the tension remains until you (on a sliding scale) become a bundle of nerves. I know that when I’m in a meditative-somatic state, electrical impulses are firing muscles all throughout my body. There was even a moment in one of my sessions with Gabe when I felt two small orange “charges” sort of shoot forward and down out of my head. If there’d been a slice of pizza in front of me, it might have gotten scorched. [I’m kidding. It wasn’t that strong. But pizza does sound good.]

One of several ways my body felt “different” after the big day, was that it instantly felt more relaxed (even with the vibration-thing going on). I went straight to the park after that session and did some stretches- basic yoga poses, really. The vertebrae along my spine easily “released” as I twisted my torso, much more so than I’d ever felt before. Other joints, too. Orange bolts of energy or not, I was demonstrably more loosened-up from head to toe. Plus, it was like all of my standard 55 year old body aches and pains had just received a power-washing and a fresh squirt of oil. 

So where the hell is that damn sadness? Tell you now, my ass!

Donut To The Face

Tamara steps out for a moment and I undress down to my aforementioned “skivvies” (briefs, of course). Her return finds me under a soft sheet topped with a light blanket. My feet protrude out the bottom, because I prefer them getting air.   

It’s actually my second massage with Tamara. My first was 3 ½ months ago and it was awesome, though also pretty “standard” as far as massages go. [In case you’re wondering, I get massages maybe 2-3 times per year on average.] I heard about Tamara from my friend Vanessa, who felt so inspired for me to go see her, she even paid for my first visit (as a birthday gift).

For my initial massage with Tamara I did about 8 mgs of an edible beforehand. Note that I checked with her in advance to make sure this was okay. Interacting with the world while being elevated by cannabis was not something I had much experience with so I was ever-cautious. Motivating me was that I really wanted to see what a massage would feel like with the heightened body-awareness you get with cannabis. Folks, it was an exceptional experience! Afterwards, I concluded that MOST regular cannabis users already know this “innovation” and would never consider getting a massage sober. 

For my session this day (Oct 13th), I did 10 mg, only a slight increase from before; so still not a super-high amount.

My face is down into that little donut thing at the end of the massage table. Soft music is playing from a speaker and Tamara begins. I let my mind-self start floating to the side. She is touching my back with long slow motions that slide along muscles deep beneath my skin. It’s not long before my body gives forth a somatic response- meaning I “flinch.” And, then do it a few more times. Soon I go into more of a full somatic tremble. Tamara is further tuning-in to the fibers within my right shoulder that have apparently been holding onto…..well, something. As I lie there, I am fully aware of my body’s response to her touch, but feel extremely safe in her presence… enough to let my body-self do whatever it needs to do. That’s when, from great depths, I begin to cry. 

Envy the Bizarre Massage

For the record, this is not an ugly cry, the one where you fight to hold back and it makes your face all contorted. No, I am flowing and it’s all quite wonderful. Tears are the relief valve of the soul, I once heard. The part of my mind-self that has stayed online acknowledges the bizarre scene I am participating in. I mean, who the heck cries like this in the middle of a massage? But…you know….given everything else I’ve been experiencing lately… it’s all good. 

As the massage progresses, Tamara moves down to my lower back and the area around my hips. My earlier crying cycled through and I had momentarily returned to calm. But the best (the worst…?) is yet to come. Gabe had asked me if I could “find my sadness” and I could not. But Tamara will. With the knowing touch of a mystic, she presses deep into the tissues of my right hip; I begin to shudder again. This time even more than before. Never in my life have I felt crying like this. The concept of storing away sadness within the body is no longer foreign to me. It is true. It’s all true and I am feeling it first-hand. The body does keep score and all of the sadness that rightfully belonged to me as child growing up in the breeding ground for suicide is still fucking there. 

I cry full body until keeping my head down in the donut isn’t allowing me to breathe. That’s when I prop myself up on my elbows and keep going. Tamara’s experience in this somatic world is invaluable to me. I thought about how Vanessa (with no knowledge of Tamara’s somatic training, btw), not only told me about her, but felt strongly enough about it to buy me a Groupon to make sure I went. I am telling you again, everything is connected. Coincidences are gone! I think about this while crying through the massage. As more and more tetris pieces of evidence find their fit inside my head, a crazy-deep laughter joins into the crying….until it becomes impossible to tell which is which. 

Gary’s Believe It Or Not Moment

Last crazy thing from the bizarre massage. At one point, Tamara asks me to roll onto my back, which I do. As she continues to work her hands into my hip area, my body-self’s somatic reaction does not stop. In fact, it begins to escalate even more. I have given up my internal controls to Tamara and simply follow the guidance of her touch. After I reach some sort of crescendo, she slowly brings me back down again to a calm state. The somatic shuddering slowly slows to a stop, my breathing eventually returns to normal. My eyes are closed throughout, so I feel everything. The flowy music continues in the background and I lay completely still once again. Tamara’s hands, both of them, now rest gently on my right hip. 

An image of what I’m feeling inside my body forms within my mind like it’s a computer simulation. I feel and “see” an orangish current of energy flowing up from my right leg in the direction of my hip. I feel into my upper body and sense the same flow of energy channeling in the opposite direction, down towards my hip. Then it hits me, Tamara is pulling the fucking sadness out of my body! What the hell is going on!?!! This is freaking my ass out…in a good way. I’m not complaining, it’s all just so far removed from the seeing-is-believing world I’d previously known. 

Really?! Do I think I’m going to write about this in the blog? I don’t know, man. I’m not sure if I’m ready for this. Are you?

Ready / Not Ready

Okay, I am done with recounting somatic experiences….almost. I have to share with you an important lesson (the third big truth) that came from my last somatic session with Gabe (Oct 19). This is six days after my bizarre massage with Tamara.

While Tamara had ‘found my sadness,’ and even released a bucket of it, my hip area was still home to a great deal more. Not just sadness, but anger, fear, and who knows what else. After finding my way into a somatic state once again– body-self alert and quivering –I tell Gabe I can feel a “swirly sensation” down in my right hip. He coaches me to keep watching and notice if it changes. It does. The swirly sensation morphs into a colored blob and my body-self instinctively becomes more agitated. 

Gabe asks me if it would be okay for him to put his hand there. Without hesitating I fearfully blurt out, “NO!” 

Moments later, Gabe asks, “Could you take your own hand and touch it to your hip?” I visualize making this seemingly simple movement, but the thought alone makes my entire body flash with fear and everything within me tightens up another few degrees. I shake my head back n’ forth and say these words out loud, “I’m not ready.” Gabe reassures me that’s okay. He explains that it’s normal to feel conflicted between wanting to protect oneself against an outpouring of potentially difficult and painful emotions, and feeling secure enough to let those emotions express themselves without constraint, knowing they have a safe place to be received.  

I did not touch my hip that day, metaphorically with my mind, or physically with my hand. I wasn’t ready. Instead, I just hovered in that somatic state of being for as long as I could without doing anything more than I was ready for. There was too much stored inside my body to let it all come pouring out at once. My mind-self was thinking, Just be here. Do what you need to do, body-self. I will hold the space for you until you are ready. 

What stayed with me from the ‘hip-touch challenge’ was another one of those big truths. As I now see it, the concept of Ready / Not Ready applies at any scale- it is universal. So, yes…you have freewill. But that’s a discussion more fitting for another day. Also being saved for later is the rather mundane reason why the universe is connected and flowing in the first place. [Hmmm, maybe I’ll write a book.]

When the universe bumps and nudges, it will only change the course of your life when you are ready. Being not ready is perfectly acceptable, too. The universe will hold space for you, if you get out of the way and let it.  

A Million Percent Right 

As I mentioned when talking about my friend Becky earlier, once she had crossed over to the healing side of her trauma, she was able to look back at all of the turning points in her recent life and see overwhelming evidence in support of an ‘everything is connected’ universe. 

None of this made sense to me while I was stuck in the blocked world. Being blocked left me disconnected from so much, including the true nature of the world around me. As soon as that block between mind-self and body-self was lifted, the connectedness of everything became suspiciously obvious. I called Becky the same afternoon of the big breakthrough day and admitted to her, “You were right.” I said this with playful confidence. However, the truth was that I knew it was way too soon for such firm declarations. What if I come back to earth the next day and see things differently; and realize that ‘connected universe‘ feeling was all a bunch of hooey?

Well, that next day was the same day Tamara ‘sucked sadness from my right hip.’ It was also the same day I could see and feel very clearly how Tamara’s perfectly timed entrance into my chain of life events broke the back of random chance. It was all there, strung out behind me like fallen dominoes. Each one a bump or a nudge to direct me forward…through the looking glass that connects our material world to the instinctual side of existence.  

It’s much like nature adjusts and directs the flow of a river over time– sometimes it’s a quiet lean from changing patterns of vegetation….and sometimes it’s an avalanche.

About 24 hours after I’d called Becky to half-confidently say she was right, we had the following short text exchange: 

Gary: The “universe is speaking” concept is becoming laughably undeniable. You were not only right, you were a million percent right

Becky: Welcome to the party, Breaux

Gary: Thank you. It is nice to be here


Since this is the second half of a two-parter, you should read part one first, because I’ll be jumping right back into it without much in the way of chicanery. But perhaps one quick shenanigan…. I am one-third of the way through an excellent book called The Body Keeps The Score by some dude with four names and two initials- Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. The book does a groundbreaking job of demystifying all the different types of trauma including mine. To be clear, my explanation of SE (Somatic Experiencing) did not come from this book or any other, it came from me. I was never comfortable with the mysterious “voodoo” aspect of this trauma healing process, so I leaned pretty darn hard on my mind-self to figure this shit out….until I could put it into words I could stand by and present to the world.

(Props also to my therapist, Gabe Schneider- the dude knows what he’s doing.)


Look What I Can Do

The evolutionary distance between my body-self and mind-self will become crystal clear during today’s somatic therapy session. It is Monday, October 12th and I am back at the clinic lying on the futon once again with roughly the same amount of cannabis assisting my brain as the previous week. The music I have requested for today’s session is by minimal techno artist Boris Brejcha. [Good workout music, too. Sample

Gabe sits in a chair nearby. The music plays. Here I go, back into the depths….

Even after achieving a somatic state on my two previous visits, tuning-in to the right meditative wavelength for my body-self to take center stage remains elusive; it’s like trying to throw a strike blindfolded. After I have been lying still for some time, Gabe gently checks-in with me. I think for a moment and conclude, “I think I might be asleep.” [(The metaphor was unintentional)]

That is the kind of mind-self / body-self separation I actually want to occur. It means I am closing-in on the sweet spot. If I successfully float my mind-self out of the way, my body-self will begin to express the feelings it has been holding onto for decades. I think about mentally “falling backwards” into a blank space. That technique seems to somewhat work for me.

But still, I remain engaged enough to listen and talk to Gabe when needed; and also keep a mind’s eye on any sensations in my body that feel interesting. I’m looking for buried emotions- a nonsensical concept for most. Where is my hurt locker? I don’t know. I watch and nothing comes forward. [This is what being blocked is.] I will have to tease it out of hiding. To the best of my abilities I relax my mind even more, leaving it open to see whatever memory comes to the foreground first. 

From the family room, I am looking at the back door of our house on Creekwood. It’s the door my father used to come through after getting home from work. It was also the door he’d slammed over and over again after fighting with my mom. I tell Gabe where my memories are going, but also that I’m not feeling anything in particular. He asks me, “Why do you think that is?” I consider the question, picturing myself at the house in scattered scenes of me at home with my family. I sense where this is going and feel that sadness is nearby, but my mind-self holds on to its control. I hear myself speak these words as I might have thought them when I was six or seven years old, “Because I’m the smart one.” There’s a long pause that hangs in the air, and sadness comes closer. Gabe acknowledges me with a, “Hmmm,” then repeats my words aloud, ’Because I’m the smart one.’ My chest begins to shudder, and my breathing shortens. “Yeah,” I utter softly. 

The body-self I can rightly call “I” speaks in the only language it knows and I begin to shake and quiver from head to toe. I sloooowly curl up my hands into fists and draw all my limbs in closer to my body. The atmosphere- the yelling, the anger. How wrong it all was, and scary, too. Goddammit! I tighten-up even more, my breathing, too. I should have been pissed as hell. I should have screamed back at my father, “Stop it, Dad! Stop exploding like a madman. I see you yelling at my mother. I see how you treat my brother. What the fuck is wrong with you?!” I protrude my jaw and tremble all over. But I am the good kid, I am the smart one, the angel of the family. I can never say ‘Goddammit!’ I clench my eyes hard beneath my mask. I’m 4, 5, 6, 10, 14….you thought I would NEVER yell and scream like you! Well, sure as hell I’M SCREAMING NOW!!!  I squeeze down into my body as hard as I can, until I just can’t go any further. THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT!!! I finally give in and allow myself to breathe bigger, slowly heading towards a state of relaxation. I am safe now. 

Safety Last

Holy frijole, what just happened? This is a somatic experience, folks. It probably lasted 1-2 minutes long. So picture me there on the futon, moving through all of this in super slow-motion….with Gabe nearby for guidance and support. Here’s the instant replay in case you missed it:

I begin to shake and quiver from head to toe.

[Gabe: “Stay with it.” “Let it build.”]

I slowly make my hands into fists and draw all my limbs in closer to my body.

[Gabe: “See the legs coming up.”]

I tighten-up even more, my breathing, too.

I protrude my jaw and tremble all over. 

[Gabe: “Notice the jaw tightening. You’re doing great.”]

I clench my eyes hard beneath my mask.

I squeeze down into my body as hard as I can, until I just can’t go any further. 

I finally give in and allow myself to breathe bigger, slowly coming back down to a state of relaxation.

I am safe now.

[Gabe: “Notice how things change as you relax.”]

Wait! What?! Where did all the other stuff go…? The part where I’m standing up for myself. Um, yeh…well, here is the real noodle-twister. The words written further above, the more “complete” version, that is me today speaking on behalf of my nervous system several days after the fact. And also 35-50 years after the fact. I am filling in the blanks based on memories of what it was like to be me…the smart child growing up in the breeding ground for suicide on Creekwood. 

You see, during the somatic experience, none of that talking back to my father was ever said, not out loud, and nowhere in my thoughts either. My body-self nervous system is not capable of expressing itself in words, only in physical actions. Cycling-through a somatic experience is completely silent. My mind-self is thinking stuff like, “Okay, Gary, just let this happen. Don’t get in the way. Geez, this feels weird. Am I doing this right? How much longer? Can I stop now? Maybe I should hang in there. It doesn’t seem like I can squeeze much more. How do I know when this is over?”  

(By the way, writing this section has provoked a somatic response. I am trembling inside.)

Surf’s Up

The experience I describe above was the first of three meaningful “hot waves” my body cycled through during the 2 hour session. Each wave is built upon a different realization, some thought that clicks into place and makes so much internal sense that my body-self feels liberated enough to give physical expression to whatever emotion it’s been holding onto (be it sadness, joy, fear or anger). For me, it’s mostly been bottled-up anger. Afterall, I had 5,000 reasons to be pissed off. 

There is no need for me to detail every hot wave I cycled through. I don’t even think I can remember them all. But I’ll tell you that the third one sure seemed like it was extra-strong. So much so that when my body-self got through it and I was relaxed again with my frontal cortex fully back online- meaning I had left the somatic and meditative states of being and returned to the room. I sat up, removed my eye mask and told Gabe, “Whew! That was a lot!” He smiled excitedly and said, “Yeah, you did great.” My response back to him was something like, “Sure, but oh man! I kinda don’t want to do that again.” 

In the immediate wake of a powerful session like this one, I’m aware that it’s waaaay too soon to be talking about future sessions. And besides, as I would soon find out, I wasn’t even done cycling through more emotions this same day.

Free Them All

I am still quite elevated from the cannabis as I gather up my belongings, say good-bye to the futon for another week, and relocate myself to the “recovery room” nearer to the building’s entrance. Driving home now is out of the question. I don’t even park my car in front of the clinic. Instead, I leave it in a lot next to some softball fields about 1 ½ miles away to ensure a logistical buffer for myself.

The recovery room is devoid of comfort. Maybe they don’t really want clients hanging around for too long; there’s not even a chair in it. The one thing it has going for it is a lumpy mechanical massage table. I’m not interested in turning it on today, so… with only two choices- massage table or floor- I lay down on the lumps to burn off some time. But think about it, a lot of big stuff just happened in my regular session. I have a lot to process and integrate- the term therapists like to use. I am both physically exhausted and still elevated like Cheech & Chong put together. 

As soon as I lay down on the table and close my eyes, my nervous system says its game on; immediately I descend back into a meditative-somatic state of mind. While my mind-self coaches from the sideline, my body-self runs the plays. I have three additional hot waves.  

Alright Alright All Right

Exorcising the burden of childhood trauma is a topic many Hollywood movies have depicted. It’s typically the most dramatic and pivotal scene of the movie where the main character visits their childhood self and tells them it will be alright. Good Will Hunting and Rocketman (the recent biopic about Elton John) are two movies that did some version of this effectively. But I don’t know, man. Seems so cliche to me, maybe even corny. I just can’t imagine myself crouching down and hugging my child-self. Sounds lovely, but I just don’t see it happening.

….until it happened. 

On my third hot wave in the recovery room, and my sixth one of the day, I drifted down deep into my psyche, somewhere in between mind and body, and searched for little Gary. I looked for myself at different ages. I wanted to find him at just the right point in time, before he started to harden, before the person he was born to be had to become someone else in order to block out all the pain he was surrounded by. 

One of my earliest childhood memories, vivid to this day, is sitting on the floor in front of our Zenith tv and watching the first moon landing. I was 4 ½ at the time so that’s around the age I needed to look. 

Found him! Looks like he’s a smart kid ;-). I need him to be, because I want him to understand and hold on to what I have to say. In my thoughts, it’s like I was putting a hand on his right shoulder. I told him, Hang in there, Gary. You’re gonna make it through this. You’re gonna be alright. 

Instantaneously, all time collapsed. What I said and what I heard, me- the child I was and the adult I am, the one now sitting up on the lumpy massage table, shuddering and crying out tears of joy and relief. Yes, the whole of me heard the words– Gary, you’re gonna be alright.   

Thank you for this day, sweet universe. I don’t understand you. But now I am open.


Pre-emptive Strike

Listen to what I was saying back in February: 

“You know me. You’ve known me for a lot of years. If anyone in this world is grounded, it’s me. And that’s not gonna to change. I’m telling you this in advance, Boris / David / Maria / Vanessa / Double-D / Rob / Isaac / Wels… (and you, too, Greg). I need to say it now because… If I go down some weird path and find out there actually is more to it all, I need you to stick with me, okay? I’ll need you to believe me. I mean, this is Gary speaking. Whatever it is I might discover up ahead, you know I’m gonna keep it real either way.”

To be precise, I did not literally have this identical conversation with every person in my orbit (but you know who you are). I also want to really emphasize the timing. This is what I was saying way back in February, before the Covid shut-downs, before therapy was even a thought in my head (much less somatic therapy), before I’d decided to sell my house in Austin, leave my job, and begin a new life in Spain, before the blog, and way too long before I ever knew childhood trauma even had a healing side

For whatever reason, however, I had a strong sense then that something was on its way. Perhaps I would discover some curious insight from tripping on mushrooms or LSD. You know, mystical-realm type stuff. As it turns out, however, neither of these substances have had more than a tiny influence on me at all. I never actually did a whole lot of either, just some timid doses here and there. So far, my experiences on that front have given me nothing much to report. Hey! I am keeping it real! 

And with that as your set-up, let’s start our fully-grounded mind-bending adventure towards understanding what it means to be blocked.


In this post and the one that will quickly follow, my goal is to make some keep-it-real-world sense out of “SE” -somatic experiencing- that freaky-ass voodoo stuff I’ve finally been able to access in my therapy sessions. Turns out there is a logical explanation for what goes on during a somatic experience. And it’s not voodoo after all. [Still pretty freaky though.] 

I will be using a couple of fresh new terms that I’ll need you to grok (FULLY understand) for my thesis on SE to make sense. The terms are body-self and mind-self. What I am doing is deliberately simplifying the body-brain-mind package into having only two parts. Trust me, it will work for this purpose. The body-self is the primitive, nervous system based part of you that would still be there even if your frontal cortex, home to your mind-self, was removed. Throughout my explanation, body-self and mind-self will align with: nervous system and frontal cortex; ancient and modern; squirrel and human. You’ll get why adding “self” to body and mind is so important as my explanation unfolds.  

There’s A Nerve Cell In My Soup

Imagine yourself attending a casual dinner party for eight where seven of the guests have been close friends since birth. It’s awkward immediately because you arrive late, but it gets even worse. Much of what goes on at the table- the inside jokes, the subtle digs, the knowing looks -will be lost on you.

Keep that feeling in mind, but switch out the characters. Let your nervous system be one of the friends that’s been there since the beginning, and your frontal cortex be the new guy, able to see and hear the conversations, but with scant ability to pick-up the unspoken queues and greater context of the stories being told.

I think this analogy is useful because… when we go diving into the body-self’s primordial soup, the stuff from which our nervous system cells got their start, all of the elemental forces of the universe were already sitting at the table. Inside the tiny little microscopic bodies of whichever multi-celled creatures eventually evolved into us, nervous system cells are there to aid in survival. These cells of ancient origin cut their proverbial teeth on all variety of invisible signals coming through the ambient that modern iterations of our brain are not specialized to detect or interpret in the least. 

We observe examples of animal “intuition,” such as when they run for higher ground before a tsunami approaches. For the animals themselves, they are simply catching a vibe that says danger and heading somewhere they feel safe.

What does any of this have to do with SE? Hold. HOLD..! I’m getting there. 

Safety First

At the truly primal level of existence there is no seeing, hearing, or smelling, but there is feeling. And that feeling needs only two modes to operate in. As I’ve already hinted, I will label them Danger and Safe. I could have chosen 1 and 0, On and Off, Alert and Calm, Rupture and Repair, or any other two terms with similar import. But Danger and Safe are good choices within the larger context of my particular type of trauma. Also, in case it’s not obvious, 0, Off, Calm, Safe… this is the default mode we need to be in to thrive. Danger Mode is where we go when we need to survive. 

To bring it all together… our nervous system (the body-self) knows danger and safety at the most basic level our universe has to offer, but that knowing can be overpowered and controlled (think suppressed) by the highly adaptive and ever-dominant frontal cortex (the mind-self). When I was a child “trapped” in that house on Creekwood, hiding under the bed, waiting to get a spanking from my father for reasons I could not make sense of, my nervous system was switched into Danger Mode while the rest of me was trying to figure out how to cope.

But here’s the clincher. That house on Creekwood was a breeding ground for suicide. I lived in Danger Mode. Even when my dad wasn’t around, I didn’t feel safe. What if I did something, broke something, for example? My dad might find out and then what? 


It’s so funny to me seeing how a squirrel will bounce away at the most innocent change to their environment, i.e. me walking down the sidewalk. Their acorn-sized brains (so ironic) are dominated by the ancient nervous system where Danger and Safe modes are most of what they have to work with. But that’s okay. The beauty of the squirrel is not just its fluffy tale and oh-so-cute face. The brain of a squirrel has the effortless ability to scamper back and forth between “Danger, Will Robinson!” and, “Yeah, I’m cool…and cute.” 

If only I could have switched back to Safe Mode. Instead, my adaptive frontal cortex had to find a way to tamp-down my nerves by controlling and suppressing the emotions I deserved to be feeling- particularly anger and sadness. In my childhood of 5,000 ruptures and zero repairs, turns out my body-self never stopped keeping score. 

This left me blocked, unable to truly connect with people, to patiently listen, broadly see, and intuitively feel the universe around me and know my place within it. Fortunately for me, the story does not end there…


I feel like this is already a lot to digest, so I will stop here to give us all a chance to breathe. Look for the fascinating second half in just a couple of days, when I’ll go from Blocked to Open. It’s a supersonic ride!

To The Healing Side

Ethan and I stand towards the mirror. Dave is a few feet away, facing us. Covid keeps us all in masks as we begin learning the basics. First, Dave demonstrates exactly how to stand, shift weight over the feet, punch and protect. I’m watching with interest as Dave talks, but also eye the signed posters of boxers trained by Dave hanging on the walls. I make note of at least two yellowed newspaper clippings, encased in frames. I’ll look at them more closely later. 

One at a time, Dave coaches us on how to take-on a stable boxing stance. I go first while Ethan watches. Red tape on the floor marks off a large “plus sign.” Being right-handed, it’s actually my left side that aims towards my opponent with my left foot placed in the top-left quadrant, my trailing foot planted wide to the back-right. I’m no fighter, but I’ve come into this gym today with the intention of facing all those moments of my life when I should have been. As best I can, I adopt the posture per Dave’s instruction. My fists are high, placed almost in front of my face, elbows-in to guard the body. In front of a wall of mirrors, I stare straight into my past and feel the enormous power in simply standing with my fists up. Dave and Ethan have no clue of what I’m feeling on the inside. I am bristling.


Never in my life have I set foot inside a boxing gym before. Same goes for Ethan, though he was on the high school wrestling team five years ago. The way Ethan is talking it seems like he’s trying to become an amatuer boxer. Me? My therapist suggested it could be helpful. 

Dave owns the Front Range Boxing Gym, a minimally converted army barracks hidden at the end of an industrial office park. He is also the gym’s trainer. Every newcomer automatically gets a 60 minute intro-to-boxing lesson from the man himself. Dave is not a big guy, not very tall anyway, but he’s stout. You can visually see that Dave’s biceps and triceps have been put to good use throughout his 70 years. When Dave demonstrates how to throw a punch for Ethan and me, his strength, quickness and power have scarcely diminished since his fighting days. 

When we learn how to combine punches, Dave shows us a combination of moves and then has us practice it through a few times. Ooof! It’s not easy. I’m struggling to get my legs to move and slide in rhythm with my punches. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Dave has to correct me several times, and starts speaking slightly faster and louder. It’s a left jab, right cross, then two more left jabs, with the feet moving in rhythm. I am trying to get it, but can never quite hit the mark. And Dave’s frustration ticks up one more notch. 

After owning Dave’s attention for several minutes, it was Ethan’s turn. Oh nooooo. If I was bad, Ethan was 10 times worse. Since he used to be a wrestler, his stance is waaay off- his upper body’s too low for a boxer. Dave corrects him, once, twice. What am I seeing? A wave of familiarity washes over me. I see Ethan struggling to get it. In him I see my brother Bill, less coordinated than me, more nervous, not able to follow dad’s instructions. At one point Ethan steps forward when the combination Dave just talked about requires a side-step to the left. Dave’s frustration bursts into the open with an audible grimace, his full body twists around to the right as his arms move like he’s tossing a heavy weight. It’s a big gesture that carries Dave back a full step. His body has exploded with impassioned anger. 

Much Needed Repairs

But then the most amazing thing happens. Less than a complete second later, Dave turns back towards us with one palm in the air, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” he says, bringing up the second palm. “I don’t mean to be hard on you.” One of his hands comes down onto Ethan’s shoulder. “You’re doing great. You’re doing great,” he says twice. I see Dave’s eyes above his mask, which has momentarily dipped below his nose because the elastic is getting old. His other hand comes to lift it back into place. Dave’s eyes- I see them smiling. His mouth, it’s covered. But his eyes…they smile with a playful warmth when he looks at each of us, apologizing again. He is genuinely embarrassed for losing his composure. It is Ethan and I that end up reassuring him that it’s no problem. We know he’s only trying to help.  

In the parlance of psychology what I had witnessed is called a rupture. Dave’s frustration got the better of him when young Ethan wasn’t able to get it. Dave lost his patience. But what followed was an expression of regret, kindness and nurturing; something I had never seen from my own father. It’s called repair

I talked about the incident with Gabe, my therapist. He gave me the language for what I’d seen. As he put it, “If there are 5,000 ruptures, you need 5,000 repairs.” I could easily glance back into my own childhood to see 5,000 ruptures from my father, the man whose flesh and blood produced my own….and zero repairs. 

I don’t know much about Dave or his life’s story, but the compassion he demonstrated that day towards Ethan (and towards me, as well), was more powerful than any punch he’d ever thrown. Dave had the intention of teaching us the basics of boxing, but unknowingly gave me a lesson in something far more important– rupture and repair. I will never forget it now.

Maybe one of these times I visit the gym I will get the chance to talk to Dave about topics unrelated to boxing. If the moment ever presents itself, I would like to put my hand on Dave’s shoulder and tell him, “You’re doing great, Dave. You’re doing great.”


Give Me Just One More

Welcome to the first of five “final” posts of the 1 More World blog. Yes, after these five there will still be more down the road…since so much story remains. I am 55 years old and restarting my life in Spain; you bet I’ll be writing about it. But the central story of the 1 More World blog has been my 1000 piece puzzle, and that one is mostly solved, both externally (Search for the Pearl) and internally- as you will read about below and in the next posts.

Real slowly. There are some mind-benders in this one.


Childhood is a world unto itself. Blessed are those who grew up in a world of love and safety. Unfortunately, this is not the experience of many people. This was not my experience. As my childhood gave way to the next world, the one where we have to be adults– who I became, the decisions I made, the relationships I had, and the happiness and joy that I missed, all have roots that extend back at least three generations (at a minimum!). Uncovering truths, connecting dots, and healing from injury is the path that has led me to believe… After childhood trauma and the adulthood it shapes, healing has the power to open up one more world. And this one I will live on my own terms.

This post will have several embedded links in it. Use them to pick up the backstory, if needed.

What Has Therapy Done For Me Lately

The third Monday in September I arrived once more for my appointment at the Innate Path clinic on Holland Street, another of the weekly visits I’ve been going to for 5 months. Forty minutes prior, I chewed-up 15 mgs of cannabis in a form that closely resembled a Sweet-Tart in size, shape, and even the tangy taste. Gabe greets me at the door as always and I begin following him towards the room in the back-right, where all of our previous sessions have taken place. But today, Gabe suggests we try a different room, a larger one with a futon-style couch in it instead of a lounge chair. 

Every session with Gabe since the beginning of May has been me doing drugs (either cannabis or ketamine), putting on an eye mask, lying back in the lounge chair, and attempting to access a somatic experience. Despite my never having achieved this mysterious state, it was still true that interesting things were revealed by nearly every session.

Oh yeah? Like what? 

In a plot twist everyone saw coming…. this blog you have been reading is the what– THIS IS the therapy, at least the non-somatic part of it.  The central story-arc of this blog began with the sixth overall post- Puzzle of a Thousand Pieces -and a scene from my childhood where I find my half-brother Tommy moments after he commits suicide. It begins with these two short sentences:

“I cannot remember my brother’s face. I was six years old the last time I saw it, and blood was everywhere.” 

With this for an opener I am clearly not writing a “travel blog.” From that post through to this one I have strived to pick apart the hidden forces that have shaped my life and share them with world.

I am also expressing my basic human need to be seen.

Rock On A String

In the week before my first somatic experience I’d been thinking a lot about a recurring theme throughout my life– not feeling understood. My relationship struggles with Jessica consistently centered around insurmountable failures in our communication. But the deeper, richer, and more troubling reasons for those failures stayed hidden from me until just a few weeks ago. The revelation I’m about to share with you may be the largest piece of the entire 1 More World puzzle. This idea, this thought, these dots connected, are closely related to a very specific an unwanted physical feeling, too.

When Jessica and I struggled to communicate, stress would show up quickly in my stomach. We didn’t even have to be actively disagreeing for me to feel it. It would just be there, hanging like a rock on a string inside my core. When I couldn’t communicate with Marianne (the neighbor), that same familiar physical sensation roared and rumbled. In truth, I can now look back at my entire life and recall the haunting presence of that rock hanging there within me, swinging and tumbling every time I failed to truly connect with someone.  

I was out for a walk when the revelation hit me. [In the area where the above photo was taken.] The epiphany was so deep and profound, I stopped walking and put my hands on my head. Now it made sense- Jessica CAN’T understand me. There is much more, but please pause here and absorb that what I mean is quite literal. Look at my broken left pinky finger in the pic. After an injury I could no longer straighten it. If you ask me to….I simply CAN’T. My ability to extend it has been taken away by the trauma my finger suffered long ago.

Jessica has been a hugely important and special person in my life. We first met in our late teens. She was my first girlfriend (on and off) for about 2 ½ years, until we finally broke up completely and went our separate ways. For the next two decades plus two years we had no contact until one day the universe placed us back into each other’s lives. This time our (mostly amazing) relationship lasted almost 10 years. In the latter stages, when I knew deep down something wasn’t right, I searched in the darkness to explain the psychological bond that certainly existed between Jessica and me. I never found it until now.

Jessica’s elemental connection to my parents and to me is ironically disconnection. My dad was totally disconnected, unable to see the anguish of my brother’s six-year old face when Bill struggled to read the clock. My mom was disconnected, too. When her first son (and my older brother) Tommy committed suicide, my mom was both unable to see it coming or cry after it happened. Jessica, the most enigmatic character in the story of my life, for her own complicated reasons, was never able to see me. But OF COOOUURRRSSEE this is not just on her, attentive readers, nor is any of this her fault. I, Gary Breaux, was unable to see beyond my own protective wall, as well, and perhaps even more so than her. I was living my life just as disconnected and unable to love as either of my two parents. Holy shit! This is big stuff!!

And what about that feeling…..about that rock in my stomach that tumbles on a string when I am not being understood, not being seen, and not being loved? I will need to find that rock because it will be the key that opens the door to my first somatic experience.

I promise we’re getting there. But first please indulge me a rant on why somatic therapy is such a challenge.

Restricted Access Only

The brain and the nervous system are really one and the same, connected no less than the roots of a tree to its trunk. And imagine how the tree first begins to grow from a seed, it’s always the roots that emerge first. In a similar way, our nervous systems are the roots of our-selves. In evolutionary terms, the frontal cortex of our brains- the ivory tower where all that smart thinkin’ happens -is the youngest, and our nervous system is as old as the earliest trees.

To say our nervous system is buried deep within us is exactly right. From our towers on high, we tend to think of our bodies as being somehow separate from our minds. No way, Jose! Body-brain-mind, we are one organism. Of course it’s all connected!

The whole aim of somatic therapy is to access that primitive body-brain circuitry (the body-self) and let it do what it needs to do. That is the freaky-ass-voodoo part I still don’t get. But those sciencey types have figured out that when we experience intense threats to our safety, and fight or flight options are not available (like when we are kids), our body-brain-mind system devises alternative and usually unhealthy ways of coping. Cutting to the chase- when ruptures go unrepaired, our nervous system- our body -will hold on to that trauma until it can be dealt with safely.

Not So Fast

So, how exactly does an emotionally-restricted knucklehead like me access my body? The 1-2-3 answer is that I go to a clinic that specializes in this type of therapy, I ingest cannabis- a chemical compound that lowers the barrier to achieving this result, and then I try over and over again (for umpteen weeks) to close my eyes and mentally zoom-in on parts of my body that might be sending me vague “signals.” Meaning anything that feels tight, twitchy, colored, warm or cold, or pretty much any sensation that seems to stand out. From my earliest sessions in late April all the way up to when I finally had a genuine somatic experience the final week of September (next two chunks below), it was most frequently my right shoulder that seemed to have something to say. I can only imagine what could be in there. 

Last aside before the good stuff. For all of my efforts, I still have no idea what the hell I’m doing! This is uncharted territory. Exactly what I am looking for when I descend into a meditative state is unknowable in advance. Am I doing it right? I don’t know. It’s an obstacle course in the dark. But perhaps the biggest challenge of all comes in realizing the best mental pathways into the body’s nervous system typically run through the emotions a lifetime has been spent suppressing.  

Now let’s get rollin’….

On The Futon River

Today’s session begins like they all do with Gabe and I engaged in roughly 30 or so minutes of preliminary conversation. As we talk, I feel the edible sweet tarts begin to colour my brain and body. I’ve done 15 mgs worth of edible in previous sessions, but what’s different today is that I also add two 5-second draws from the vape pen. [Yes, vape pen. That’s a side-story I’ll be sure to circle back to in some future post.] This is the highest dose of cannabis I’ve ever done. 

Ready to be settled, I place the eye mask just beneath my frontal cortex and fully recline my body, placing a small cushion under my head. Whoa! The cannabis is really getting strong. Gabe steps out of the room to grab a bluetooth speaker- a background of flowy music can sometimes facilitate this process. By the time he returns, my mind is already starting to enter my body. I say out loud, “Just to let you know…I’m really rolling right now.” 

I distantly hear Gabe say something encouraging before he takes a seat. The music comes on, I take a few extra full breaths, and begin to go deeper….and deeper.

Fantastic Voyage

In addition to thinking and having memories, the mind-expanding powers of cannabis enable my brain to create an array of visual representations of my body based on the subtlest of impulses emanating from my tissues. Remember that 60’s era sci-fi movie where a shrunken crew of explorers goes on a journey inside the human body? Well, it’s sort of like that but with a random storyline and in color (and with faaaaar better special effects).  

The physical sensation of not being understood (my rock on a string) was a challenge for me to mentally conjure up during a session. Gabe’s core function as a therapist is to see and understand people, so I wasn’t going to recreate the sensation by talking to him. I would have to use my mind.   

Slowly, things start to happen. My mind begins to flow from the pebble I manage to find in my stomach up to something in my right shoulder. A muscle fires within it causing me to twitch one time. A few moments go by and Gabe checks in with me, asking where I am right now. I tell him I’m paying attention to my shoulder; it seems like something’s there. He says to keep watching it. It twitches again. And then again.

Cracking the Code

Holding a gaze with the eyes is easy, but directing one’s mind in a single direction for any length of time is not. But I stayed focused as best I could. Another, larger twitch, pulls both shoulders in for a blink. The spot within my right shoulder seems to be growing. Slowly, slowly… I allow myself to tense up.

There is a progression to what I am experiencing and my mission is to keep leaning into it. Starting also around my right shoulder, a low-level fizzy sensation begins bubbling up within my limbs. At a very hushed volume my body begins to quake and quiver, like trembling, but different. It slowly grows louder. Even in this state, I think about how I might express what is happening in words. [After all, I’m a writer.] The physical manifestations of my nervous system’s release of energy continues to grow until the random vibrations I’m feeling bring to mind what it’s like to ride a city bus as it rumbles and shudders down a old street.   

It’s all getting weird but I’m intent on staying in the moment. I feel a growing internal pressure to take a deep breath, but I recognize it in real time and resist. That’s how I’d always coped with the emotions my trauma conditioned me to avoid. This is the critical moment- a big deep breath is how I would normally hit the reset button, how I would push the volcano back under the ground and avoid deeper emotions. My breathing quickens as I tense up, but I am able to consciously override the urge to make it go away. I remain on course; even thinking to applaud my own self-awareness while it’s happening. Holy crap! I am so fully present! 

At some impossible to define stage in the progression it somehow feels like I’m all the way in. I’ve done it; I finally cracked the code. I am having a somatic experience. Gabe knows I’m in it and tells me I’m doing great. To be clear, all the while this physical stuff is taking place, I am still me. It’s not like I’m unaware of my condition. In fact, I am hyper-aware of it. 

The number of minutes this goes on is difficult to say. Maybe between 3 – 10? Or was it 15? Guesses are all I have. Once I had “cycled through” the somatic experience and I was back into the room, taking my eye mask off, I felt mildly bewildered but also content. I had broken through. 

Through to what, is an answer I don’t yet have. 

Taking Sides

I began this course of therapy knowing I had stuff to work on. The internal notion that something isn’t quite right has been with me all my life. In Life As Compost, I tell you about my brother Bill’s deep and desperate desire to remove the dark burden of trauma placed upon him growing up. He never got the help he needed to escape that burden and killed himself with a handgun 10 years ago.

For whatever reason, the universe had different plans for me and I’ve managed to survive; and even do quite well by some objective measures. However, I know in my bones I carry unwanted burdens. And I know there’s a love that is missing. I’ve never been able to maintain a healthy relationship, and worse…I have deeply wounded others along the way. For this I am profoundly sorry. 

So, what of my therapy? Is it working? Have my burdens all been lifted? Am I a new man? Yeah right! You know as well as I do it doesn’t work that way. It’s a process with an undefined beginning and an end that never fully arrives. But, I will say this….

Take a second look at my broken finger. You see how it rises from the fingernail to a hump at the knuckle where scar tissue has formed around the injury. It then slopes back down to connect with my hand and the rest of my body. If my broken finger can be a stand-in for my therapeutic progress, sloping upward is the injured side, and that will always be there, but….

A few days after my first somatic experience, after I’d visited Austin and said goodbye to my house, after I’d come back home to Boulder and digested all that has taken place just in the past couple of weeks alone, the leaves of fall and I were changing. For the first time ever I caught myself wondering if I’d made it over the hump. Then a faint breeze swept through my interior. I know there is a lot more work ahead of me, but something within is telling me… I now live on the healing side


I am super proud of the next three posts, especially. Forward!!