Breakingdown, Breakingthrough

- by Margaret Coyne -

17th Holotropic Breathwork Workshop - 25-10-'96

Got up 6.50am after a terrible night's sleep, with dreams of guilt and shame, then staying awake for ages after each dream. I was the first down into the kitchen, so I really enjoyed taking a long time over my breakfast.

Went into the session room at 8.55am, where we broke into three small groups. I was in Tony's group of twelve. We talked about what happened for us last night and how we felt this morning, then we chose our partners. Matthew, was mine and as he wasn't too fussed about when he would breathe, we decided I should go first. It was a good decision as I had half decided on that earlier in the morning. As we were sorting out our spaces on the floor, Deirdre, our fourth facilitator and former partner of mine, arrived and was warmly received by all who knew her.

The first session started around 10.00am, with Suzanne reading a poem while we all lay on our mattresses, then on tape, she took us through our relaxation exercises. It was all very peaceful. Very soon I was ready to commence my journey:-

"A short while into the breathing, my hands begin to close over on my chest, and the usual pins and needles set in. As I descend deeper into the experience, I begin to moan and move about somewhat, then something happens for the very first time in my sessions.

Lying on my back, my hands move upwards towards my neck. Crossing my arms around my throat, I try to strangle myself, not with my fingers, but with the sides of my hands, the pressure against my throat causing me to cough and scream. I continue with this strange behaviour for quite a long time. Now I'm really choking and begin to spit up gunge into the tissues that Matthew is handing me.

Towards the end, as the music became more sombre, I began to quietly cry, hoping Matthew wouldn't need me. Lucky for me, he had a fairly quiet experience and slept for about an hour towards the end. As the session drew to its conclusion, I found it very difficult to get myself together, although I managed quite well in the end.

During dinner I was not very talkative, choosing just to listen in on conversations rather than joining in them. I felt somewhat sad and disorientated.

At around 9.00pm we returned to the session room for our second small group discussion. It was towards the end of this as people were recalling their painful experiences and especially when one girl who became absolutely ecstatic while describing her wonderful visions, that I was totally overcome by a flood of mixed emotions. Firstly, I was so happy for the girl that I began to cry along with her, then almost immediately, my joy turned to despair. As we began our short period of meditation, Sarah, who was sitting next to me, placed a pink crystal in my hand, enclosing it with her own hand. I managed to contain myself for a few minutes before completely breaking down.

When the meditation had finished I immediately turned to Sarah who hugged me tightly, then I just wanted to be alone. After a couple of minutes Katherine came over and took me in her anns. It was then that I lost all control and sobbed so hard that it felt like I was going to die from the dreadful sadness that was coming up from the very depths of my being. When I finally recovered a little I began to feel so terribly guilty about upsetting everyone, and then when I found Tony he reassured me that everything was OK. I hugged him, as I needed to be held so much. We all left the room around 10.30pm.

I went straight up to my room where I cried alone for about fifteen minutes, which helped me to feel a lot better.

After that I did some writing, then went down to the kitchen where the atmosphere was very jovial indeed.

Although I still felt very sad, I opened up a lot to one girl in particular and she to me. As the night went on I began to realise how lucky I was to be among so many beautiful people, who although struggling with their own suffering, were ready to help others whenever necessary.

It was around 1.00am when I went back up to my room. Although I was fairly tired, I wasn't quite ready to sleep, and as I felt my room-mate needed to talk, we stayed up for over an hour and really opened up to each other. I always feel very privileged when someone does that with me. We both did some writing, but I was the first to go to sleep.

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