Mandy was terrified of speaking in public, even in front of two or three people. When she seized up in one of my workshops, I asked her if she could feel what was blocking her. She said, “It feels like a choke collar.”
I asked if she could see that collar. After a moment, she nodded and said, “I can see it now. It’s a collar of antique lace. It’s buttoned too tight.”
“Does that lace collar remind you of anyone?”
“My grandmother used to wear that kind of lace collar.”
Memories started spilling out, of the grandmother who sternly upheld a family tradition that girls – and grown women – were not permitted to speak truth to power, that a woman’s lot was to mute her emotions and never challenge the man of the house.
Once Mandy had the image of what was stealing her voice, and the family history that came flooding back, she was able to work successfully to release herself from the choke-hold of a tradition that held that it is the role of women to suffer in silence. When she found an image of her block, Mandy moved beyond it and claimed her voice.
On another occasion, I was leading a short evening program for a large audience. I drummed for a while to help people call up dreams or images from any part of their life that they might want to play with.
A woman I’ll call Norma put her hand up and said, “I got nothing during the drumming.
“So what are you feeling right now?” I asked ner.
“Where do you feel this frustration?”
She indicated her torso.
“Put your hand on that place. Now I want you to follow your feelings into that place. Can you pretend you are moving into that place in your body?”
“There is someone or something there. Do you see it?”
“Yes. It’s my father.”
“What do you need to do in relation to your father?”
“I have to find out whether I can forgive him.”
“What would you need in order to do that?”
“I’d need to get my little girl back.”
“I think she’s right there. Can you see her?”
“Can you welcome her back into your life, and release your father?”
There were tears now, and a fierce hope shining through the tears. In that moment of revelation, and self-expression, we all felt the potential for deep healing. Later, Norma agreed to write a letter to her father (now deceased) expressing what she needed to say to him, and wishing him healing and forgiveness in his journey. And she readily agreed to do certain things in her regular life – eating a certain sugary snack would be one of them – that would convince her inner child she would now be fun to be around.