Sophie Fletcher attended the closing the bones training in 2017. This is her account what the ritual did for her.
“Through recognizing the archetypal and spiritual nature of the experience…an understanding of and a healing of the wounded mother can begin. We are all the inheritors of the wounded mother. The repression of the feminine in our culture has meant that we have lost touch with our instincts.” Benig Mauer
I’ve been a therapist for over 10 years working with birth, preparation, trauma, you name it I’ve worked with it. It’s the most exciting and energetically powerful work I have every done. Birth is the emergence of something and someone, not just baby, mother and father but also grandparents, uncles, aunts. A ripple of energy that spreads far and subtly shifts the dynamic within the immediate family or community. It’s powerful and underestimated.
Mostly, we see only the surface. We may be mindful enough to observe those ripples, to witness their direction of travel, and we may allow ourselves a softness that merges into those ripples, thoughtfully engaging with the ebb and flow of emotions that arise within each relationship and pocket of change.
Rarely do we look directly beneath the surface and really witness what is going on within ourselves, nor do we have the tools to work with what lies deep within us and around us.
Energy is everywhere, some of us feel it more than others but we all get ‘feelings’. When we give birth we open up at every level, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Our energy is loose, flowing – our hearts and our bodies open on many levels. It’s dispiriting that our culture is so disengaged with this principle of openness and vulnerability. When we talk about being vulnerable do we really stop to consider what it means?
If you work with birth you may no doubt be aware of the importance of making a mother feel secure and comfortable. Empowering her, giving her practical tools to take control and feel less vulnerable. This principle is largely connected with physiological process. When a mother feels safe labour progresses.
Yet it is more than that, it’s far deeper and more psychologically profound than ‘what goes in the head changes what happens in the body’.
When I gave birth to my first son, I felt in control – even though I hadn’t even scratched the surface of what I teach now, so I was a novice. Always optimistic, a glass half full person, I had no fear. His birth a caesarean, because of pre-eclampsia, was what it was. I accepted it. Or so I thought I had.
I’d done no deeper work, I didn’t protect my energy and at the time I didn’t look at the ripples or beneath the surface. Over the years with my work, I reflected on it, did some processing around it, came to the conclusion that I had moved on and resolved everything.
How wrong I was! I first came across closing the bones just after I’d trained as a hypnotherapist, 9 years ago. In fact, I wrote a blog on it.
However, I still hadn’t grasped the significance of it. Until I attended the training with Sophie Messager. When I was wrapped during this process, I burst out crying, it came from nowhere. It felt as if a part of me didn’t want it to change, but another part felt more strongly that it had to. Consciously I don’t even know what it was. From that point a deeper understanding emerged of this sense of an energetic imbalance in my physical being – knowing that there was a place where my cognitive understanding and a deeper spiritual knowing needed to be integrated in order to release something.
Seemingly unconnected was my inability to do yoga asanas, I’ve worked on prana, breath, over the years, and meditation, but of ongoing frustration is an overwhelming nausea when I do postures. In fact, I gave up trying about 7 years ago.
6 months after the closing the bones training I went on a yoga retreat booked by my sister, I took it slowly, very slowly. She’s a teacher and said just stop if you start to feel sick. I didn’t, in fact it was amazing. There was some discomfort but focusing on the movements, I began to identify where the discomfort was, and it was clearly founded in movements that put pressure on or engaged the area where my caesarean scar was. It was a completely different level of awareness.
Now for the first time in 14 years I feel I’m in a place to integrate my body and my spirit more deeply through yoga. Closing the bones, was the first step to this, it knitted something deep within me back together.
This ceremony is powerful, rooted so deeply in who we are, in ourselves, our children, our partners and community. We are energy, and our energy is wild and disparate during birth, it flows and blends with the energy of others in the room and beyond. Closing the bones should be an integral part of a woman’s postpartum experience, and I hope that this knowledge finds a way back into our mainstream birth culture and we can together heal the wounded mother in our culture.