One of our days at the retreat centre was spent on Holotropic Breathwork, a way of inducing altered states by working with the breath. I wanted to focus on my body. My intention was to explore how to live in and love my body to the end of my days, how to cherish it and take care of it as the gift it is. My question was what fresh energy might be arising, creating something new for me to be or do.
My first experience was supreme joy in being in my body. I moved, danced, sang, felt a young girl again, exuberant at being alive, without thought or care. My body expressed my joy effortlessly. Then, the emotion left me. I felt dead, without affect, still and silent, not moving, hardly breathing. I thought perhaps this was the psychic polarity revealing itself, fullness and emptiness.
But there was more. Suddenly, out of this stupor a tremendous rage arose in me. I couldn’t contain it. I beat the floor, I screeched and screamed, I growled and snarled, I pounded my chest. The noises I heard coming through me couldn’t be me… and yet they were. What had come over me?
I wrote later, “I have descended into madness. I am mad as hell. My body is expressing rage, anger, torment, despair.” This, then, is the polarity my body holds, joyful exuberance and fiery madness. I am familiar with the joyful side of me but the wild anger is new and strange. Is this rage the dark feminine I have been evoking, rising in me? There is certainly a fire in my belly. A new energy, an uprising of the dark psyche, and she is furious. Is this what I need to pull me out of my complacency, my niceness? What would that mean? Or am I expressing the larger dark feminine, the earth in its fury at our neglect? Or maybe it’s the same energy, at different scales.
As I worked with the initial emotions, I realized this level of vehemence isn’t useful as it is. The fire has to be checked, red hot coals better than an uncontrolled blaze. These lines tumbled out of me …
The Fire Coming
So may it secretly begin
The banking of the fire within,
The glistening egg a hearty shell
Where the transformative fire can dwell.
Not so hot that it will burn
The tender threads as they return
But yet enough to hold the passion
In the most engaging fashion.
So the work can then begin
To show me where it wants to lead
And I, surrendered, open heart
Will follow, word and deed.