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Case #1

Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 22:16:48 -0500 (EST)

My story will be short, but the healing has been very long in coming. Lack of self-worth is one way to put it, but the depth of my lack is more or less inconceivable to me now. I ate compulsively, felt terrible, was very self-effacing. I couldn't ask for what I wanted, couldn't feed myself, couldn't take care of myself physically.

As I write this I hear the contradictions to this at the same time. I wasn't particularly overweight, I always had a job, I just didn't have a life.

The beginning for me was training in martial arts. Though I didn't know who I was or what I wanted, I was a hard worker. I am a karate Black belt, and have been in karate for 19 years, but let me immediately say that I have never been in a fight in the street or competed in any tournament. My work as an athlete and a martial artist has all been on the inside.

For some reason, it took me by storm and wouldn't let me be nothing. I have never felt terribly physically powerful or that anything at all came naturally to me, but I learned that nothing is impossible if you just keep at it.

The first step was doing karate in a fairly compulsive way, without very much experience of my body. I practiced meditation, did forms, breathing deeply and I know now I didn't experience my body at all. It's a miracle that I could do it at all.

This I did for several years, and over that time became a vegetarian, did a small amount of body work (massage therapy and accupunture), and trained hard when I could. Even into my tenth year as a martial artist, I wouldn't have called myself a martial artist because I wasn't good enough.

I was physically ready to test for black belt really any time, but could not see myself in that role. Ten years into the process I was aware that I felt I was not worthy of a Black belt.

In the meantime lovers had come and gone and I had been left by a lover I loved very deeply. One of the big reasons for leaving was the amount of fear I had. My fear of people was uncontrollable. I didn't feel I measured up. I could take care of myself physically, but not at all emotionally. I was scared, angry and so in my thoughts that I couldn't begin to unravel it.

Being left by someone so dear to me sent me into radix therapy (a Reichian body work therapy). Basically it feels like you are lying on the mat screaming for years. I don't know anything about how or why it works, but it changed everything. Before doing this therapy my experience of my heart was that I felt a small metal cylinder in my chest. No movement existed. Nothing could very well go in or out. The love I felt was in another compartment, and I could look at it when I was safely away from anyone I loved. I was in so much pain.

I started doing radix and that led to letting go in a number of other ways. During the most intensive time, I was getting massaged, getting network chiropractic and getting radix therapy. The intense time lasted less than a year, but I did radix for 3 or more years.

One of the things that changed was feeling worthy of a Black belt. I trained hard, and got one. You may not know that in martial arts your level in absolute terms is not really important. It doesn't matter how you compare others, better or worse. It doesn't matter if you know all the material for the test or not. No matter what, you develop personal goals and you are judged at the test on your ability to meet your own personal goals. (this is at least how it should be, and how it was in my school). So putting off the test for 15 years really did not make it an easier test, nor did it make it harder. It was all it should have been for me.

Also in our school you always are the only tester. We actually don't put a lot of emphasis on testing. In fact I was the first Black belt test in 8 or 9 years. I had never seen a Black belt test since I had moved and joined the school 8 years before. No other accomplishment has meant so much.

When I decided to leave my radix therapy I talked to my therapist about this change. I couldn't explain the depth. So few people understand what is offered in a good school.

Now it been almost four years since my test. I live in the country with my lover and horses and work four day weeks. I have so much of what I always wanted. The biggest change is knowing what that is.

I'm still an introvert and like to spent a lot of time alone, but now I do have a few really good friends.

And of course I continue to do karate. I'm thinking of goals for my 20th year and for my 40th birthday that still a couple years off.

I guess my perspective on my healing is that I had to start where I was. I didn't trust anyone, so I couldn't just go and work with a therapist. I really couldn't get that close. The process of getting a Black belt was so tremendously life changing, and in ways I could not have begun to guess at when I started. All the other therapuetic work I did was both enabled by my training (couldn't have risked the therapy without being in training), and very much a part of my training (I couldn't have continued to progress in karate without the therapy).

[End Case History]

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