I was considerably shaken by the “child voice” I heard in Yoga class that day. It was just so bizarre. I needed to know what was going on in me. And what the hell happened in my past? Did my Grandfather do something to me? Or was that “child voice” just just a figment of an overly emotional imagination?
I talked with Douglass after the class and made arrangements to train with him privately to get to the bottom of this mystery inside of me. The next day, we met at my apartment which I shared with my girlfriend on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. When Douglass arrived, we sat crosslegged on our Yoga mats in my living room and I told him my tale of dissassociated woe. There was something so peaceful and safe about his demeanor. He listened compassionately until I was all talked out, and then we began our YOGA.
We started with an Arching Cat Asana and I immediately started to cry, again totally dissasociated from any connection with the emotion. Douglass quietly watched. I pushed up into Downward Dog and my body started to shake so Douglass gently rolled me on my side for a supported Maltese Twist, and that is when I started… to remember! Maybe it was Douglass’s gentle touch or the safety of being in my home, but for the first time my sobbing emotions were connected - AND THEY WERE CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING!
I was 5, I felt/saw my Father kicking me as I lay on the kitchen floor - I was 4 almost drowning in the Long Island Sound at Playland in 1962 - I was 13 being beat up by Roger Fenton in Mill Pond Park - I was 1, someone was holding me by the neck as an infant and smashing my head into the floor again and again and again! And as Douglass gently moved me into various supported Yoga stretches a universe of memories unfolded like a motion picture manifesting through my body, shaking me, moving me, - some images/feelings were from my conscious memory, other images/feelings were brand new as if they didn’t belong to me or to my past.
And as I stretched with the gentle assist of Douglas, I could feel the utter fear of waiting to be belted in the bathroom by my father, the sad melancholy of having to go into 6th grade knowing that my parent’s were divorced making me a subhuman child, and the paralizing new memory at four years of age, hiding from my rageful father in a closet in a garment bag fearing that he would kill my mother, my brothers and sisters and then me. And I cried, and I shook and I shook and I cried and with Douglass’s gentle assist I did Yoga.…Yoga unlike any Yoga I had ever experienced before.
We eventually stopped. I lay there a blathering amoeba of emotion splattered on my living room floor.
And Douglass sat quietly watching.
It had been so real… yet so unreal.
And as I lie there as human emotional protoplasm, I knew that the worst was yet to come…