Where does FEAR and TIGHTNESS come from? Why is it that back in 2001, I had so much tightness in my body that I could barely move without great pain? What had paralyzed my legs and the rest of me far beyond the groin-pull injury I had begun with?
As I lay on the floor in a movement and breath workshop I took back in 2001 (an ironic situation since it pained me to move after having injured myself in dance years earlier), I asked myself this very question. I could feel the deep sadness and helplessness I felt of carrying so much pain, and of my deep desire to feel supported yet not feeling supported. My shoulders were all tight, my neck, my jaw, and every part of me wanted so much to ground me from the pain of not being supported.
I saw back then that so much of my tightness came from not only a physical state of not feeling supported but an emotional one as well. How often do we tighten because we are afraid, afraid that if we don’t hold on, if we don’t push forward and remain strong, that there will be no one there to catch us, to hold us? So, we grip tight. We fear. We contract. And the pain worsens. We carry this old belief, as I did, from my childhood, that I was all alone, that I couldn’t afford to let go of the tightness I had built up in body and soul.
Yet, ironically, in order to heal, in order to let God, or that divine energy we call God, move through us, we actually have to let go, to soften our grip, and let life in. That’s when the creative flow and restoration returns. That’s when we feel the divine within us, and it is this very energy that holds us.
Back in 2001, when I took a workshop in Continuum Movement with its founder Emily Conrad (who helped people recover from paralysis), I discovered the amazing truth of this. Emily had told us, “Our organism is not bound by its form. It functions in form but is not bound by it. When our system can reorganize itself, it can remain healthy. Being able to let go and let new forms arise always brings us to a higher form.”
Today, as I look at what I had written down during her workshop, I am amazed at the immense wisdom she shared and how it holds so true during these co-vid days. “All movement is limited by fear,” she said, while making reference to the fact that, when we speed up or are stressed, our molecules have to come together (and inversely, when we slow down, there is space between the molecules that makes room for new things to come in). “You have to trust that the universe is within you,” she added.
How ironic is it that we, as a world, have most recently been asked to slow down, or at least more than ever before? And why? So new life can come in? So God can come in? So we can come into balance after years of being so contracted and not feeling held in our rush to dominate and survive? And what is it that is possible now?
Lately, I’ve been meditating more than ever, and tapping into that abundance of the universe that exists inside and out. I’ve been making more space between the molecules inside me so I can feel life, God, that essence and energy that exist in the spaces between the molecules, between the in and out breath, and inside the empty, still points. It’s where I want to be and stay, because if I don’t, the tightness returns, the constriction blocks my heart from feeling held, and I feel separate from God and this amazing universe. I am no longer able to walk the unique path that I am here to walk.
So, if you find yourself contracting, fearing, separating from the magic of this world during these co-vid days, take a breath, feel that space of God between the molecules, the stars, of your body and soul, and return home. You are held. We are all held by this divine force that knows exactly how to move with ease and grace in the world during this time and at all times.
Michelle Adam is an experienced writer, teacher, and healer. She recently published her novel, Child of Duende, after twenty-plus years as a magazine and newspaper writer. Her articles have appeared in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine; Hibernia Magazine, an Irish magazine; Vista Magazine, a Hispanic insert of major national newspapers; and multiple other publications.
Michelle has also been a photographer and artist; has taught middle school students Spanish for the past dozen years; and has worked as a healer and shaman. Michelle has created healing and teaching circles of song and sound, assisting others in awakening the spirit of the earth, “duende,” within them, and creating a space for the celebration of life.