Euphoric. That was my feeling after Forrest Walker (yes, that’s his real name) treated me post-concussion.
His simple touch on my abdomen, chest, thigh and head magically shifted the intangible energy within my body in indefinable ways. A fluid sense ran head to toe and back again as if my insides had become unblocked and calm instead of jagged and nervous as before.
One energy-work treatment was like the untwisting, full-body wring-out of a long yoga class but without my effort and with the intimacy of a healer who cares deeply.
Three weeks prior I couldn’t force my confidence enough to prevent an end-of-day crash while getting off the Indian Peaks chairlift at Eldora Mountain Resort. My first fall of the day ended up my last snowboarding run.
One moment I was standing up from the moving chair and on my way down the slick ramp; the next I was a crumpled heap, my pink helmet knocked forward over my eyes, a hammer-like blow pulsing at the back of my skull.
That bizarre backward fall yielded the first of two supine sled rides down the mountain, confined in straps and yellow plastic sheeting, bouncing turbulently at precarious angles across the terrain while watching the tree tops and clouds I could glimpse through the flapping tarp fly by.
Three Sundays later, I had started to feel like myself again, and it was my last chance of the season to ride with my son after his final ski school lesson.
I didn’t want to give up snowboarding. I still don’t.
I had taken a half dozen years off after failing to remain in the right head space to fly down a mountain post-childbirth. Something about being a mother made me so fear getting hurt that I’d quit the sport. I suppose it was my momma bear instinct to protect myself so I could be there to protect my babies.
I’d returned to the mountain with equal parts trepidation and gumption last winter when it was obvious Elijah was not going to quit his love affair with flying down snowy slopes. He so badly wanted me to join him. I did too.
Three weeks after the chairlift incident, it was parents’ day to join their kids on the slopes. I took it slow as I rode up and down the hill three weeks after my initial brain injury.
By my second run, I was starting to get my groove.
After lunch, I joined Eli’s class. We raced down Corona run where it seemed all the snow-sliding enthusiasts I’d managed to avoid all day had suddenly congregated. Eli attacked a jump next to a clump of trees that most of his classmates avoided, and my heart swelled with appreciation for his self-assuredness.
My inner voice coached me to be confident as I followed the group.
I engaged my core muscles, strong and stretched; kept my gaze far afield to keep my posture tall; listened for the location of the HLMs (human land mines) around me. Distributing my weight evenly over my board, I shifted forward and back on bended knee with each quietly carved turn. I smiled, as Elijah had encouraged me to do.
But then, someone skied by too fast and too close. Perhaps I panicked. All I can remember is tumbling forward and smashing the top of my helmeted head into the snow-packed ground. I held my skull in child’s pose for an hour’s worth of minutes and fought back hot tears of frustration over clocking it yet again.
I rejoined my boy at the bottom of the lift, but I was done for the day. He went off to ski the double-black glades with his class. I visited the ski patrol medic, again.
Elijah and I were upset to end our winter so suddenly. I bolstered my energy enough to hike up Bonanza Terrain Park to video him taking flight on the jumps, and I used my yoga breathing to stay focused while driving homeward down the winding canyon with my head yearning to turn off. Aching to lie down, by 7:45 p.m. I was in bed for an unrestful 11 hours.
The next day, I called Forrest.
He says he was trained in the energy healing modality called BodyTalk System but really what he does is love.
His job is to touch a patient and get out of the way to allow one’s healing energy to communicate with him and to observe changes in the body. He says he shifted my cranial bones and helped my rocked nervous system realign itself.
I think it’s Voodoo. But also inexplicably real.
It’s well known that our bodies and mind are mysteriously connected within ourselves and with those around us. The body’s innate wisdom can bring about miraculous healing if we just allow it.
For a mom who doesn’t like to stop, whose hyper-vigilance is vital to her children’s successful emotional and physical development, it’s hard to stay out of the way of my own healing.
I’m impatient. I’ve been beyond annoyed these past few weeks when my brain hasn’t fired the way I’m used to. It’s irritating to experience emotions on a rollercoaster whose track I’m blind to.
I’ve had my visual perception professionally tested, and it’s fine one moment and unexpectedly impaired the next. Tinnitus, that steady, irritatingly distant buzzing in my ears that began when my youngest was in the noisy, machine-filled NICU has returned. When I find myself expending effort effectively or even driving successfully, I am rewarded with exhaustion that is strange and desperate.
The day after Forrest treated me, an unsettled feeling supplanted my euphoria. I called him again.
He says what I’m experiencing is typical with head injuries.
When he balances one’s mind-body energy, one’s perceptions are realigned. Those mind-body-energy thingies start processing old emotions held trapped inside. I’m supposed to be able to release them now.
That would indeed be a miracle. This injury is reminding me that I have old emotional projects I haven’t dug through enough. Life’s funny that way: how stuff keeps happening that brings past wounds and fears to the surface yet we can’t wait to turn away and focus on our to-do lists.
Thanks to my now-wacky brain (and for those who know me, I mean differently wacky from before) l I’m accomplishing my to-do list a lot slower.
I’m frustrated that I need time to heal. And I’d love to chuck my emotional garbage once and for all. But maybe I’m not quite ready.
Let the head games begin.