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.

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!!