Thursday, 1 May 2014

(embodying can be such fun!)

A couple of years ago, inspired by the work of the psychiatrist, Bruce Perry, with traumatised children,  I set about trying to implement some of his approach in my own life and on-going project of de-traumatising my body. Bruce Perry’s approach is all about helping children who have been abused and/or neglected to learn how to self-soothe and self-regulate their hyper-reactive bodily response and to make this fun and enjoyable.


 Bruce Perry: Try this YouTube link to learn more about his approach

So I embarked on a three-fold approach, taking my guidelines from his suggestions of massage, reiki and drumming, for start of life traumatisation healing.  This blog is about the drumming or, rather, what came out of the drumming for me…..

I started off buying a drum and just doing it on my own but that very quickly palled so then I tried having some sessions with a music therapist. What this taught me was two things. The first was that, despite having studied music including playing the piano, the clarinet and also singing, to the end of my school days I “did” music from my head not my body!

The second thing I learnt is that it is a lot cheaper if I listen to my gut instinct – as soon as I saw this very kind and hardworking therapist I felt a heaviness in me, that somehow she was not the right person for me. However I ignored this feeling and it took me 8 months, and many sessions with her, for me to decide to actually trust my instinct and stop seeing her!

Then quite by chance (or by the universe being in synchronicity for me – depending on your viewpoint) in March 2013 I discovered Ria Keen. She was and is a completely different kettle of fish…..


Ria Keen -

…..and I discovered what fun it could be to actually live in and come from the centre of my physical being.

I grew up in a world where I did not live in my body at all, that was the only safe way to survive. None of my family lived in their bodies, their chosen home was the left hemisphere of academia. Through the many years of therapy and treatment I have had an image of my experiencing of my childhood and teenage years as being one of being the viewer of an old black and white pathe news-reel, like I was the reporter and reader of my life but I didn’t actually live in it and nor was there any colour whatsoever.

The overall emotional tone of my childhood was that of boredom interspersed with episodes of chronic worry and anxiety. This was the “felt” experience of chronic dissociation and as my life had always felt that way I did not know that most people did not experience life in this way.  And despite the best attempts of the music therapist my experience of making music with her continued to be a black and white "reported-about" event – I did not “feel” it in me.
Then came Ria. As she opened the door on the first day we met my body came alive. My body just knew she was someone who I could have a real fun with, that she was the kind who would be the naughty girl at the back of the class and could really be led astray, that what we would do would be entirely of our own creation and not following any rules.  That in her world of music it was not about an in-the-head analysis but of movement and "being" the song the way it is just for the individual singing it.
With Ria I have discovered that within a year of starting to see her that I have, moved from doing music from my head and my left brain (“oh look this is a minor third apart here and its 6/8 time….”) to just my body knowing how to produce sounds I never knew I had within me, to move with the music and to look at a music score and not see the left-brain detail but the pattern and flow of the melody and its rhythm.
My relationship with music has gone from this….

……….to this
Bruce Perry is right – fun is such a great way to heal and rehabilitation does not need to be the serious hard work slog that at times it can be.  The group, Matchbox Twenty, in their song “Black and White People” have two lines of the lyrics which epitomise my experiencing of this metamorphosis that has taken place within me:
….the technicolor dreams
Of black and white people…
I have gone from





No comments:

Post a Comment