I tell this story because it was real rock-bottom healing for me, to see, that amidst life’s challenges, of seeking to understand why things happen the way they do, that bumps in the road provide just what one needs to understand.  

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On a Sunday afternoon two weeks after the balloon festival in Iowa, newly moved into my San Diego apartment, I’ve invited a man to visit whom I recently met at a book shop – a quiet natured fellow, in his 30s, sporting a neatly trimmed beard, wearing jeans rolled up at the cuffs and white T-shirt. We’d discovered some things in common as we shared a table in that crowded shop. 

As I hold the door open to him he hands me a warm pizza box, I wave towards the couch, say, “get comfy, I’ll get some plates.” 

I walk towards the kitchen, drop the pizza box on the table, swivel around bursting with outrageous energy, my arm swoops up, points at him, my mouth tries to yell, “You know some…” but no sound comes out… as my outstretched hand slams into a nothingness wall – I fall backwards hit the floor sobbing. I cry uncontrollably. Crying out to each of my children, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I let you down.” Again and again I repeat their names and cry, “I’m sorry. You deserved a better mom.” 

Drawing by the author, Peggy Starr.

Whimpering, I feel a hand holding my head up and a pillow slipped under me, then a blanket softly laid over me. The sobbing goes on until no sound can come out my dry throat. I raise my self up on an elbow, look towards the couch, where is he? I look towards the door, there, at my feet, he is sitting with his legs crossed. I choke out a whisper, “What are you doing?”

“Holding space. Protection,” he says.

I flop back down, not understanding, close my eyes. Sleep. When I wake up it’s daylight. I smell coffee and see him sitting at the kitchen table; looking at me. “Are you okay?” he asks.

I nod, yes, my mind rattling along… Why is he still here? Did he stay all night? What the hell happened to me last night? My Life is like a busted kaleidoscope, pieces strewn everywhere. How will I ever get it back together?

After I shower and dress, I join him, and ask, “Did you stay all night?”

“Yes, I didn’t want to leave you alone”.

“Thank you for that,” I sigh.

“I’m going to my friend Ellen’s tonight,” he says, “she does Jin Shin Jyutsu; it’s a gentle form of acupressure therapy. Will you come?”

“Not sure I’m up to that.”

“Your body needs nurturing. You’ve been through a lot lately.”

I meet Ellen, experience Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ) for six weeks, Ellen offers me an apprenticeship as her assistant, room and board included. Over time, my body-mind settles down; the lightning bolts continue, but gentler. Energy-rebalanced.

(Next story: the Chakras)