Breakingdown, Breakingthrough

- by Margaret Coyne -

16th Holotropic Breathwork Workshop - 28-9-'96

Arrived at the Centre at 8.55am. feeling very nervous for some reason. There were twelve participants today, and again, I can't recall all the names. However, I remember Gemma, who I first met at a weekend workshop. Today, she and I were partners.

Helping out Tony and Fiona was again Katherine. I was so happy she was going to be working with us. Following the meditation which started at around 9.20am. and the introductions, the first session started around 10.00am. Gemma was first to breathe. I've decided that morning sessions are not for me, as I'm far too exhausted for the afternoon. Gemma had quite a powerful experience but didn't require much assistance from me. By 1.45pm. she had completed her session.

After lunch, which by then was 2.30pm, we returned to the session room, where as usual, I felt very nervous, but soon calmed down as Katherine took us through our relaxation exercises and into the breathing which would guide me into a very intense, yet fulfilling experience:-

"After about ten minutes of breathing, I'm aware of the familiar numbing sensation in my hands and feet. This continues for quite a long time before I begin the other familiar, though less pleasant, ritual of tossing my head from side to side like someone in the throes of a raging fever. All the time while doing this, I'm making mantra-like sounds in rhythm to my movements.

Around an hour into the session I start to scream out every so often, every muscle in my body tensing as I do so. Deeply regressed, I now move upwards towards the wall, trying to push my head through it.

The cushion behind me prevents me from hurting myself. Hands clasped tightly across my chest, my fingers slowly, in a somewhat uncoordinated manner, move upwards to pull at my neck and face. A few moments later my arms settle back into a crossed position over my chest.

It is at this point that the screaming really begins in earnest as I continue my struggle to break free from the hellish confines of my mother's womb. Anger and frustration now give way to an overwhelming sadness and feeling of having failed miserably.

For some reason I'm unable to shed tears although I'm crying my guts out. After a while I come out of my altered state and have to go out for a pee. Gemma tells me it's 4.15pm. When I return I can't get back into anything and become very agitated, tossing and turning and flinging my arms in all directions. Unable to continue with the breathing, I make the unusual decision to seek help.

It's Tony who immediately comes to my assistance, enquiring if I've any discomfort and suggesting that I close my eyes. As he applies pressure to the back of my neck, the intense pain sends me into a wild frenzy of screaming and kicking which seems to last an eternity. All the time Tony is encouraging me to let out the sounds. Now the discomfort moves to my upper chest, and again his pressure causes me to yell out all kinds of obscenities, one of them being "I hate you fucking bastards", which I repeat over and over.

Whether or not it's from all the screaming, I begin to choke and gag, telling Tony that I'm feeling sick. He tells me that's OK and puts the basin beside me. I don't vomit, but spit up lots of gunge into tissues, after which t feel exhausted and out of control. This process continues until eventually drained, I turn onto my back as Tony suggests.

The terrible discomfort is still in my upper chest and with Tony once more pressing down on it, I begin to make strange little sounds which I repeat like a mantra. These sounds then become the cries of a new born baby and last for around ten minutes or so. By the end of it all I'm aware of having a very sore throat, but on the emotional side, I'm feeling very relieved and peaceful. Tony tells me it looks like I've had a very powerful birth experience and that I should be very careful with myself over the coming week. He remains with me for a while longer then leaves me to rest for a while. I leave the room at 6.15pm".

Feeling very energised, I draw my Mandala which this time showed a young baby trapped between two iron gates. After tidying up and saying our goodbyes, I arranged a lift and arrived home at 8.45pm.

Didn't feel much like eating or drinking anything though I did stay up watching MTV. When everyone had gone to bed I began to feel very isolated with my thoughts and cried for about half an hour before eventually going to bed at around 11.30pm.

Some Insights Plus Additional Feelings from the 16th Holotropic Workshop.

9th Oct, '96:

Returned to bed around 9.15am. Began to have very vivid memories from my childhood. These memories mainly consisted of brief glimpses of places, like the park where I used to play as a child. I could clearly see a wall which had some of its stonework missing, providing a convenient seat for the women who would knit while their babies slept in wonderful high prams alongside them. I could clearly see the colour of these stones.

Also, I could see the rust on a railing which ran the full length of the park. This was all very overwhelming.

10th Oct,'96:

Again, returned to bed around 9.30am. This time went into altered state where I became a baby trying to be born. Went through all the familiar sounds and gestures. Later, I was a distressed young infant sucking hard on the back of my hand. Fell asleep.

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