F.M. says, "There is no disrobing.’ But there was for me a huge exposure, which I found very scary at times. We talk glibly about being ‘in touch’ or ‘in contact’ with people, but actually, bodily, we hardly ever are except with those we’re intimate with. Also, we have, in my opinion, so sexualised our idea of touch that we’ve become ‘out of touch’ with ourselves and others to our great loss. I was very blessed in my home and marriage relationships but even so I felt somewhat embarrassed(?), confused(?), unsure(?) about lying on a bed(?) while my teacher put hands on me and somehow moved bits of me about - all the more so because I enjoyed it!
There was no sense of anything inappropriate, but it was just so unfamiliar, somewhat surreal, and I wasn’t sure what the boundaries were, if there were any, or if boundaries were appropriate anyway; I was out of my ‘comfort-zone’. The touch was so ‘releasing’ and felt so good and seemed to be reaching so deep inside my being that I was almost afraid of the Whole process; I somehow found it hard to feel that it was alright to feel so good I think I would have found it easier if I’d had to make a big effort, to do something, not just stop and think these things called ‘directions’!
There was also such a sense of wholeness and homecoming to it all; my whole being was involved; I couldn’t make much sense of what was happening, not just in my body but in my Whole being, but I somehow knew that it was good; I was eating from the ‘tree of life’. In terms of awareness of undue tension, it reminded me of the relaxation and breathing methods that I ’d used so effectively that I had needed no
analgesia when I was giving birth to my children.
Before I had AT lessons, I was beginning to think I was past my ‘best-before’; now I knew that ‘the best is yet to be’. To say that my lessons were the high points of my month might give the impression that my life was dull; on the contrary, everything I already enjoyed became so much more fun. Sometimes I felt I could hardly contain the life in me as if it was bursting out of me, as if I was somehow incandescent. Everything seemed richer and fuller, more ‘colourful’ -and easier. It was as if everything was falling naturally into place and flowing well. I felt in love with life.
All this was an exhilarating, scary voyage of discovery. I don’t have the language to articulate what happened; the only words I have are either mystical or erotic (and maybe that’s why lots of mystical experiences are described in erotic language), as if the whole experience had a similar ‘fullness’ to worship or love-making though it was neither; a fullness of life and living. And although it was unfamiliar, it fitted well with my experience of God’s sense of humour in his dealings with me!
In my lessons I was safely taken beyond and outside all the boundaries I knew I had, and many that I wasn’t aware of. I realised I was ‘exploring my edges’, as it were; taken to the edge of a cliff, being gently pushed, finding myself flying. My body feeling so spacious. It was a wonderful experience and caused me a lot of ‘self-discovery’!! I knew then that going forward would cost ‘not less than everything (a condition of complete simplicity’) - to misquote TS. Eliot (Four Quartets), and that total openness to the ‘process’/ ‘journey/ ‘adventure’ was my only real option if I wanted to really and truly look at AT -and at myself; a big challenge. Michelangelo was once asked Why he was struggling with a block of stone and replied, ‘because there’s an angel in there and I want to set him free.’ I’d experienced this liberation in my so-called ‘spiritual’ life; now I was discovering it through the whole of me, all of who I am, my being, body, mind, spirit and every other labelled ‘bit’, altogether, in unity.
My journal at this stage was full of quotes and pictures; T.S. Eliot was, as always, inspirational, and Piet Hein’s pithy Grooks perceptive and amusing. I remember one of my daughters saying, ‘Mum, do you have to sit up straight like that all the time?’ It came as a shock and a great deal of excitement -to me that I was, quite effortlessly, sitting up straight, that this AT stuff was working for me in a way that was visible to my family!
I have another entry noting that I’d grown taller. I’d noticed that things on a shelf were unfamiliarly at my eye-level and found I had ‘grown’ over an inch. But as well as physical height growth, I feel as if I've expanded, become more who I am, more free to be who I am.