The Tale of the Siberian Overcoat… a combined approach
The ‘Siberian overcoat’ excerpt from a zoom session
The story of the Siberian overcoat is an imaginative way to access and explore intergenerational patterns of holding/ behaviours that have been almost invisibly handed down from generation to generation. Originally intended as a gift for survival but which over generations can become a difficult fit when still ‘worn’ in the present day realities of life in the 21st century.
Wendy “ever since our last session I have had this image with me. Of a little girl in a coat that is much too big for her. Trailing behind. Made from what seems to be long brown hair on the outside. Undone at the front. It makes me feel very vulnerable. Undone at the front like that. I have wondered whether I should try to take it off.”
we sit quietly for a little while.
Me “My sense is to get to know it a bit. Not to be in any kind of hurry to whip it off. To be curious about what it feels like to wear it at a physical and emotional level. To gather some more details”
Wendy “This makes me want to cry. I didn’t cry until I was 19. I was never allowed to cry”
We talk a bit about Eckart Tolle and Pema Chodron. “Be here” and “leaning into the sharp points”
She talks about her childhood of constantly being on guard while her parents argued at night and the ever present fear of abandonment.
Me “That is enough to make anybody want to cry.”
I talk about being with what is… how resistance to emotion can set up more tension and effort and that this work of awareness calls us to be ever more truthful with ourselves … that the question ‘where do I seem a bit easy?’ can uncover layers of subtle resistance and so being with how I truly am is little by little going to offer a way to uncover more of the truth.
(“Else” we leave out the word ‘else’ from the phrase “where else do I seem a bit easy?” because this is Wendy’s mother’s name and she believes that it is disturbing for her mother’s “little girl” in her after life … and that this is why she has been having such a painful time with her eye.) Wendy is a psychic spiritual healer.
Me “I wonder what the texture is like next to the skin? How heavy it is. where do you experience the weight?” I tap my collar bones as in the ‘bolero/*opera jacket’ form of the shoulder girdle.
Wendy “Oh it’s not fastened at the front so the weight goes straight down. She gestures with her hands. I haven’t thought about any of the other details, just the long brown hair on the outside… but I would say that the inside of the coat almost feels as if it is like my own skin… joined to me”
Me “Maybe better we don’t rush to whip it all off in one go then… it might be very raw and so it may be that as well as being a bit of an impediment it also has a gift… a form of protection. We don’t have to gather all the information today. It may take time.”
Wendy is inclined to give 110 percent to everything she does, which can land her in deep water! She has learnt to see the gift in everything even though sometimes it can be “through gritted teeth” She says she tries hard to bless her computer!
As the session progresses I feel drawn to talk about ‘the domes’; the architecture of the soft palate and diaphragm and pelvic floor … I relate this first to St. Paul’s Cathedral (the cupola, the huge dome, the magnificent tiled central floor) and then suggest that rather than being rigid structures they have more the quality of muscular jelly fish. I demonstrate a fluid rising and falling movement, making dome shapes with my hands.
I describe the movements of the diaphragm in relation to the in-breath and the out-breath.. the descent and ascent and the squidging and releasing effect this has on the viscera.
I say that at times of deep exhaustion, that when energy is really depleted, we can rest on the organs as a form of extra support that can be a back up to the support from the skeletal system.
Wendy replies that she has been able to sleep for the first time in nearly 30 years because she has been able to use the ‘where do I seem easy?’ question as she lies down at night, and her anxiety settles. She talks about her true love who abandoned her 30 years ago and how she was thrown back to her sleeplessness from then on. That it is wonderful to get a good night’s sleep.
Wendy “I felt that I could gently and fully breath without making an effort and without it being an exercise”.
I check to see where she is now in relation to the overcoat.
Wendy “The little girl is over there with it on and I am here.”
I don’t want to prise her back into it if the moment has passed.
we close with the 3 channels of nose and areas of breath intake
- the sniff ( as in runny nose)of the lowest nasal channel with the intake of breath just at the top ribs
- to the middle nasal channel and mid thoracic area…the scenting of aromas of yummy cooking
- the highest nasal channel …the soft inhale of the fragrance of a rose that is deeply calming and that takes air to the back of the lower lungs and floating ribs.
I ask Wendy if somehow the soft breath of the fragrant rose, the question “where do I seem a bit easy?” and the little girl in the overcoat might somehow come alongside each other and offer a way to be gently curious over the coming days.
I have been working this way recently with Wendy. She has also been practising aspects of Primal Alexander and is currently taking my “Beneath the Surface” online course which is derived from LIAB™ (Living in a Body) see footnote.
“where else do i seem a bit easy” Primal Alexander™ Mio Morales with whom I study intermittently.
*Opera Cape LIAB™ Robyn Avalon
and acknowledging both my mentors and teachers, Bruce Fertman and Robyn Avalon with whom I continue my studies.