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Cry of the Ancestors

I have been given the gift of reading bodies. This has come out of a career in which I have massaged over 25,000 people. How I came to this work, and the subject of my new book, Cry of the Ancestors, is what this blog is dedicated to. I hope you will find it useful information in your own healing. I hope you will comment on its content so that I will be inspired to write more.This is my first time writing a blog. Is there anyone really out there? I have a published book called Bodies Unbound, Transforming Lives Through Touch, and perform a one woman show based on my book. I have written to heal myself and to tell others the story of that. I am still in the healing field, giving massages, doing Ancestor Work, and co-running a Raw Food Retreat at our home with my husband.

After massaging over 25,000 people in 32 years I have learned a lot about bodies.

I have massaged every kind of person from movie stars to babies. Old women dying of cancer without breasts, men who had been to war with no legs. But mostly I have massaged women. Women struggling with feelings, depression, low self esteem, which seems like the story of everyone at one time or another. My question has always been, what kind of person created that kind of body?

In 2000 I discovered I was reading bodies. I was teaching at the Ojai School of Massage. The students asked if I would show them how I worked with my clients and I agreed to give a demonstration. A table was set up and a woman lay down. She was nervous and holding her legs stiffly. I rocked them showing her how she was holding on.

I told the students how I let go of whatever was going on with me the moment I entered the area surrounding my client. Then I walked around her feeling how it felt to be in her presence. With the woman now on the table I felt fear but that wasn’t unusual given the fact that 20 people were watching her prone body.

I sat down on a stool at her head and placed my fingertips under her neck at the occipital ridge. When I was comfortable I asked her, “What is your relationship with your mother?”
She gasped. Her face contorted with emotions. Slowly it came out that her mother had left the family when she was a baby. She had never known her mother. She’d felt scared and alone her whole life. The whole room united in sympathy for their fellow student. In a heartbeat we had entered the realm of the sacred. It is a place I reach often with my clients. The intimacy of massage seems to be a way in to that world. It comes with taking down the barriers that make us feel separate.

“How did you know to ask about her mother?” one student demanded.

I said, “Look at her feet. Both her feet are pointing to the left. The left side is the side of the mother. She also has a belly that is larger than the rest of her. The belly is the physical representation of the mother. The navel is where we were first attached. Her shoulders are rounded protecting her heart. A person like this would live passively, not daring to reach our and form new relationships that might abandon her again.

“That’s exactly how I feel. That’s exactly how my life has been,” the girl whispered, excited about finally having the words to describe her experience. We all hugged her one by one. She accepted the hugs in a daze. The shock of meeting her experience with her mind both startled and thrilled her. She entered the possibility of creating another possibility and living a life with her soul.

I was not allowed to leave that day until I'd read all eighteen students bodies. Sometimes I sat as blank as a post for many minutes, but eventually the body opened and the story of the person, as though unlocked by a key, came pouring out. No one was more surprised than me. By the end of class people were so opened from watching all the others that they would simply lay down and tell their story.

I will never forget the last man I read that day. All day I’d noticed him on the edge of the class not really wanting to participate. Instead of standing close he’d sat in a chair. When he lay down on the table it became obvious that he was deformed; so much for my judgement. He’d sat in a chair because it was difficult for him to stand. His legs and hips were not even. He had been in a motorcycle accident. I told him I couldn’t read his body because of his abnormalities but I would love to hear his story.

He came from an alcoholic family. His father was not communicative or loving but he taught him to ride motorcycles at a very early age. He was scared but loved being with his father. Later in his teens he began using drugs and riding. It was a way to escape everything. The danger of riding while stoned forced everything but the moment out of his mind. When he had the accident he was severely wounded. His pelvis was crushed and the doctors said he’d never walk again. He did walk, but with time he realized he could never have a family. When this became clear he tried to kill himself. He put a gun in his mouth to blow his brains out but at the last possible second he jerked his hand and the bullet went through his cheek shattering his jaw.

He passed out and was horrified to wake up, alive, with half his face blown off. During his long recovery he realized that something within him wanted to live. Something made him jerk his hand. If he’d lived there must be something he had to do. Slowly, during his long recovery, it came to him to become a massage therapist and help other people.

This man had not been popular at the massage school. He was gruff, limped and had a frightening scar on his face. Now everyone was in tears listening to his story. I asked them all to come up and surround him and place their hands on his body. I said to him, “If you are going to give all that love you must receive it too. Look into every face surrounding you and see the love in their eyes. Let that love enter your heart.”

The man on the table stopped breathing. He couldn’t open his eyes. His eyelids fluttered in anxiety. I knew he had received very little love in his life. I know the kind of life that leads to drugs and seeking danger. That kind of life doesn’t let love in. I asked him to breath and when he did, this hardened, angry, terrified and hurt motorcycle riding man looked into the eyes of love itself. As he shyly looked into the faces surrounding him I could feel the angels clapping their wings.

“How can I keep my heart open?” he asked.

“Every day, find someone and ask them to tell you the story of their lives.”


Wow, that is powerful stuff. I don't have the facility you have with reading, but I do know from my experience as both a colon therapist and a massage therapist that you can learn so much just from stopping and paying attention to what the body is (or isn't) doing. Thanks for sharing - keep it coming. You could write a book of stories like these.

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