I got broken and ripped apart by the Maori healers. I have hesitated to write about it for fear of diluting its effect on me and for fear of not having words to describe the whole experience. It really is beyond words and our language cannot do it justice. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone to seek them out when they come to your area and give yourself over to their healing.
Here are my notes on the experience written one week after the healing:
My Maori Healing Experience
One week ago I experienced a session of traditional Maori healing and here I sit still not sure whether I can or should write about. I feel that somehow if I carry the experience just as that – experience – without putting words to it, then it might be more powerful. Certainly much of what I experienced there are no words for.
As a compromise, because I really want people everywhere to be aware of these healers and their work, I will paint some broad brushstrokes of a picture of their work.
There were three of them working in a studio at the same time – this is the way they normally work, side by side, talking, sharing, helping with each others’ clients. I was assigned to Manu – the big “scary” one who must weigh over 350 pounds. I knew him from watching him treat my husband and he also treated my friend and sister. I felt I was in trustworthy hands…hands that belonged to a man as wide as a doorway. No, nothing to be scared about, Jeni! I had filled out a health form prior, and I had written primarily mental/emotional/spiritual reasons for wanting to see them. Yes, I have a few physical issues, but nothing dramatic. Manu seemed to understand what I needed without asking me anything.
The sessions always start with the feet. (I’ll tell you right up front, I don’t have any knowledge of how their systems work, only that they do. Whatever I put forth here is my experience and perceptions. My words may not reflect the way that they would describe their work. ) Manu started with my feet, but then I don’t really remember what came next other than I was flipped over and he was sitting on top of me. Yes, all 350 pounds of him. He said he was opening up my circulation, and if the redness in my ears and face and pain in my neck was evidence, it was working. He stayed there for quite a while before he got on his knees and used his knees to walk all over my butt and legs. That is when I remember the pain starting. I had the gift of having my dear friend, Christina, with me to hold my hands and whisper soothing words in my ear, continually reminding me to breathe. At many points the lungs could simply not take a breath for the weight on them. The pain in my legs and knees was excruciating – definitely the most pain I ever felt in my life. I was letting the screams pour forth, the sighs, the cries. I let it all out. He was opening my shoulder blades, cracking my upper spine, bending my feet, stretching my arms backwards over my shoulders, poking my knees and getting all the pressure points where I felt pain. There were a few moments when I thought I couldn’t take any more and was just sobbing. One of them was when he was sitting on top of me, on my back and put his extra large hands on both sides of my skull and squeezed until I thought my skull would break. That was the only part of the treatment where I got worried. After all, how could one fix a broken skull? Or could my temporal arteries explode? I squeezed Christina’s hands with all my might, screamed and cried at the top of my lungs like a baby being born. Wait a minute! Was I being birthed here?
During the session, the woman who owned the studio that hosted them, Larisa Stow, was playing her harmonium and singing and chanting. Her music lead me deeper into my heart. It opened up wider and aloud more tears to pour forth with the sounds.
I was back over then on my back for more work on the legs, bending me in different directions, having an assistant sit on top of the back of my thighs with my legs over my head, and then to the abdomen. The navel area is sacred, according to them and many traditions. It is the link to our birth. Manu had his fist in my belly, like they do to many patients. This was probably the most powerful part of the treatment to me in terms of emotions. He put my hands around his wrists and he concentrated and pressed and pushed and then pushed harder. It felt very vulnerable. Then he moved up to the end of breastbone and did the same thing and then right between my breasts. Three pops in a row, almost like a release. This physical part of the session lasted about 45 minutes. Manu moved to my head behind me and spoke loudly for all to hear. “Fear is a choice. We cannot live in fear. We can let fear, anger, sadness control or lives, or we can choose not to.” And then, “Stop taking care of those who don’t take care of themselves.”
Then I was lead outside to lay belly-down on mother earth to somewhat return to “normal,” although I could never be “normal” after that. My girlfriend had her hand on my back and said, “you are buzzing.” It took me about 10 minutes to be aware of my buzzing body; I was vibrating very quickly, almost imperceptibly at first.
I’ve heard them say that the treatment is the equivalent of a “reboot” of our system. I think that is an accurate description. I also felt ripped apart, and when I told Ata, one of the other healers, she wisely asked me, “Do you want to put yourself back together with the same glue?” I said, “absolutely not.”
The after-effects of this treatment are still with me. Initially, for a few days following the healing, I felt stoned, spaced out; my head was in the clouds. I liked it that way as I tend to think too much and not let things just “flow”. This flowing has continued, but not as intensely. I feel an opening in my heart, both literally and figuratively. I am less afraid of feeling whatever comes my way. I am focusing on Manu’s words and repeating them to myself daily, knowing that I have a unique energy and I have to let it come forth. I can’t be afraid of showing my true self or letting my desires come to fruition. If I cut off those vital parts of myself out of fear, I will die. And lastly, despite it being the worst pain I have felt in my whole life, I would go through this invaluable experience all over again.