Well-being Wednesday: A secret keeper and the solstice.
A dear friend of mine asked me about rituals of self care when working with clients. She was thinking of reiki and how I managed to create energetic boundaries and not take their “stuff” with me. Reiki and other energetic clients are easy for me and my rituals of care are unimpressive and lack luster, but they work.
What her question made me consider more fully though was the self-care needs I have around stewarding the stories of my clients and communities. Their traumas, their pain, their shame. And that is part of my gift, creating a container to talk about the hard stuff like sexuality, death, disability, etc.; I am a secret keeper. How do I not let those secrets creep in? Though I strive to be a hollow bone (a shamanic practitioner saying) – the stories permeate and gestate and stick to my own stories and grow me, in small ways and big ways. It would be impossible to be impervious; the sticky and the growing is part of the gift of story – finding compassion, finding container, finding resonance.
But carrying these stories is challenging preciesely because they are heavy. And expectedly and rightly so. Navigating systems of oppression and generational pain and harm, topped off with a global pandemic, most of us have been traumatized (big T or little t), particularly around areas of my professional interest – sexuality, death, embodiment.
I won’t share repeat those traumas to or for others, out of a respect for privacy , but also to finally put those secrets and traumas to rest; those stories deserve a loving burial and they deserved to not be internalized by me. But how?, this is where the winter solstice offered itself as inspiration. A time of release and letting go in anticipation of the coming of “light” (ie ease).
This solstice, I released my clients’ and communities’ secrets that I had held in my heart and with their trust. To move and jettison, I spoke and sighed the stories, in whisper and breath, into replica canopic jars. One jar for their secrets and one for mine. The unburdening felt glorious – self-directed, intuitive, and ritualized, it was exactly what I craved.
If you are a secret keeper, what self-care strategies do you have to support your work? Therapy can help many story-stewards; however, it can be inaccessible and also passes the story on to others. How do you determine what is to be kept and released on your own verses in shared in community or relationship (as in with a therapist)?
Wishing you all a restorative solstice and holiday season. Thank you for reading.
For information on these canopic jars, see my poem here: https://ignitewell-being.com/canopic-jars/
The above content is written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT), RYT500, reiki master, shamanic practitioner; sex-positive, trauma-informed sexuality counselor and educator (she/her/they/them); copyright protected, please cite accordingly. The picture is mine.
For any young people reading, please seek out the help of a supportive adult for assistance with secrets. Sometimes secrets can be harmful and dangerous and you deserve support for those.
For more offerings that support sexual well-being, please see: http://ignitewell-being.com/events-and-services-summary/ For more information on my offerings, including the above referenced yoga class, or to work with me directly, please email email@example.com
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