An Unexpected Shift

Yesterday was a classic cusp-of-winter day, overcast, chilly, varying shades of gray painted on streets and peoples’ faces. Otherwise, it was a pretty unremarkable kind of morning.

As usual, I took the elevator up to the clinic, chit-chatted with the women up front, and then followed her down the hallway into her office. Seated on her chair, she placed her cup of hot chocolate on the desk and asked, as always, how I was feeling. Instead of my typical rundown of ups and downs, I replied with a request; could I share something personal and ask for her blessing about an idea I had in mind. Yes, she replied, swiveling around to face me with curiosity and attentiveness. I took a deep breath and outlined my (possibly?) outrageously illogical plan – with a determination and cautious optimism borne of being me, here, now, as I am.

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next: As she searched for words in reply to what I’d said, her eyes reddened and brimmed with tears. I was taken aback. Immediately, I felt that perhaps I’d overstepped my (our) boundaries. And then my eyes welled up too. I wondered if I’d triggered something within her that she could not express to me. I listened in spite of and through her tears., and mine. And I felt a surge of sorrow, empathy and sadness.

We switched gears and hugged. Grabbing a tissue, she exclaimed with just a hint of mischief: now, take off your pants.

For me, this exchange marked a change in our practitioner/patient relationship. A shift of the therapeutic tectonic plates, if you will. For the rest of the session, she moved and dug around my sacrum and pelvis with the usual intuition and firmness. But there was something more, an unpalpable dimension; I knew that she had also tapped into a sacred place in my heart, my spirit and my soul – and I, perhaps into hers.

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