Values ascribed by the society dictate and attach judgement to how body and our relationship to it is viewed. Religion and society creates the strict divides between what is profound and profane. Earliest of our shame comes dressed as a fig leaf. Rather than an encouragement to understand our bodies, our elders usually invent abhorrent stories to discourage us from “touching ourselves”.
Being in our body triggers shame and guilt. We compare all the time in our minds, attributing qualities of beauty and ugliness. Bodies are a source of pleasure and pain. Being human is a cause of shame and guilt. Standing in little or no clothes in the presence of a masseur alone can be very vulnerable. Nervousness of the first meeting is totally different from what the duo; shame and guilt (S&G) transpires within. Expression of acceptance of our bodies can be seen in the posture, how we stand the ground. Our shoulders, neck, chest, breath, all are signs of how we view ourselves.
Body shame, menstrual shame, body image guilt, guilt and shame of sexuality, self objectification, betrayal, these are some of the all too common issues. The somatic healing and touch therapies allow the afore mentioned to come to surface. With repeat sessions, slowly and gradually we realise the absurdity of shame and guilt. We begin a journey of discovery of self because of the deep relaxation afforded by the safety of touch and intimacy within a non-judgemental space of unconditional love. We learn how to let go!
S&G can get the better of us by creating an internal barrier which challenges us to receive the touch. S&G at times makes difficult to share our experiences of massage. One of my elderly client is amazing in that she tells her lady friends about what amazing time she has during the sessions, much to the howls of disapproval, “Naked in front of another man who touches you everywhere?” She likes to shake them out of their shells. However, guilt kicks in when she wants to make sure none of my flatmates are home when she visits. Another client finds it challenging to share Healing Hands experience with his longtime lover. The logic being, it’s “our time and he needn’t know it”. Even though psychotherapy is strictly between a therapist and a client, sessions are often discussed with partners without shame attached to it. With the physical intimacy of a massage, S&G brings forth feelings of betrayal or ‘being unfaithful’ to one’s partner. During the massage one is enveloped in a bubble of safety where all is possible and allowed for the purpose of healing and letting the person balance their energies and blossom. This bubble can burst very easily when we fall back to our old patterns/beliefs. Massage activates our Parasympathetic Nervous System, which relaxes the body and puts us in a space of ‘rest-and-digest’ or ‘feed and breed’. The Sympathetic Nervous system on the other hand stimulates the body’s ‘flight-or-flight response. One is relaxation and the other brings stress. It’s not that one is better than the other as stress informs relaxation. It’s the weaving of these energies together that bring a state of balance. Tantra helps build on the beauty of vulnerability and transforms it into strength.
If you want to learn secrets, your heart must forget about shame and dignity. Discover your own frontiers and moralities. Worry least about what people say.
It happens all the time in heaven,
And some day
It will begin to happen
Again on earth -
That men and women who are married,
And men and men who are
And women and women
Who give each other
Often will get down on their knees
And while so tenderly
Holding their lover's hand,
With tears in their eyes,
Will sincerely speak, saying,
How can I be more loving to you;
How can I be more kind?