Yanni Dilosky was a TRAUMA HEALING THERAPIST visiting from Germany. He was an advocate of the TAMING THE TIGER method. I was referred to him by one of my Yoga teacher training comrades.
Now the theraputic metaphor from The TAMING the TIGER method was this: In nature let’s say when a tiger is chasing an antelope and the antelope manages to get away, the antelope releases its traumatic stress by shaking it’s entire body for about 30 seconds. At the end of this shaking session, the antelope is stress-free, in a new moment in now having no residual fear of the tiger and it can go about its business. Granted I was a bit skeptical about this method, for I had already been shaking for 4 months and my TIGER still had its teeth fully embedded in my ass and it wasn’t letting go.
Yanni was staying with a fellow Trauma healing therapist in an apartment on 46th St. between 8th and 9th Ave in Manhattan. It was a cold January day when I journeyed down to the Big City again to meet another variety of therapist. As always, I was nervous, and scared. What if doing this therapy with Yanni brings my stuff up and I can’t get out of it. What if it takes over? How will I make a living? How will I survive? ….. And what if “Baby Ken” takes over?
Now that is scary.
It was an old building about halfway down the block right next to Private Eyes, a gentleman’s club, where strippers hang out. I never understood that gentleman’s club metaphor. Private Eyes was a strip club. There was nothing gentlemanly about it.
I rang the bell for 14C and I was buzzed in. I took the elevator up. Oh no, here we go again.
Yanni was a heavyset light haired man with a thick German accent. He was about 28 and he was wearing a gray Led Zeplin teeshirt and a frayed vest. He invited me in. It was a studio apartment with one large window with three panes looking north. The furniture was old, worn and there was a slight dusky smell of cigarettes.
“So I was referred to you by one of my Yoga associates. I am having strange crazy things happen in my body. I am bouncing, cramping up, and I cry a lot. It is all connected to my childhood somehow or events that I have forgotten in my childhood.” He was staring at me.
“Yes, I understand. We don’t need too talk to much.” He said flatly. “I am a student of Peter Levine, and I have worked with him at many of his seminars and weekend gatherings. His therapy is a little different. I am just visiting here and I am going back to Germany to work with him for a week long intensive.
WELL GOOD FOR YOU… I wanted to say.
“So this is what I want you to do.” He continued. “Find some space in this room where you feel safe, and then tell me where you want me to be.”
“Experience the room from a safe perspective. And tell me where I can be that it is safe for you.”
He seemed so serious. What the heck was he talking about?
“I’m having a hard time here.”
“This is what I mean.” He said calmly. “Are you safe in front of the window, or are you safe under that table? Find out. And then tell me where I should go - behind you, to the left to the right?”
“OK.” I replied.
I walked around the room trying to FEEL where I was safest. It was so bizarre. I think I would have been safer down at Private Eyes getting a lap dance. This was very odd.
“Ok. I am pretty safe here.” I said crouching by the couch.
“And where shall I go?” Yanni piped in.
"You need to go over there and put the lampshade on your head!" - I wanted to say, but instead I said, "Why don’t you go over there in the corner by the door.”
He walked over by the door near the corner and looking away from me he said, “Do you feel safe now?”
“Yes, sort of. “ I replied.
“Ok. Very well done.” He smiled a very Germanic smile. “Now lift your arms and start moving them in space. What do you sense? What do you feel?”
“I sense that I am self-conscious and I feel like a jerk.”
What the hell is he doing? "MOVE MY ARMS IN SPACE? This is therapy?
“Good!” he responded enthusiastically. “Let me know if your hands tingle. When hands tingle often that is a sign that trauma is being released.”
“When my hands tingle that is a sign that trauma is being released?” I repeated back.
“Yes, they tingle and then poof the trauma energy is released.”
“Just like that?” I was so confused.
“Yes,” he said. “Just like that.”
“And what happens when I click my ruby slippers together 3 times?”
“I don’t understand.” Now he was confused.
“It's an American Pop culture reference. A quote from The Wizard of Oz.”
THE ROOM STARTED TO SWERVE!
ALL OF A SUDDEN THE FEELING WAS UPON ME.
Like a cobra attacking it’s prey THE FEELING was there so fast so strong so present and so past.
I started to shake a bit, and tears welled up in my eyes. I started to see vague images and I could feel a tingle in my left hip. Damn, I was scared so crazy scared again out of nowhere.
“WHOA! SHIT! I am not feeling safe. Not safe at all!” I yelled.
“What do you see?” He yelled back. “What do you feel? FOLLOW IT! FOLLOW IT!”
The room started to spin. Yanni stood in the corner not really looking at me but somehow listening and sensing what was going on with me. The emotions started to move and I was just standing there, not doing Yoga, not even thinking about the past but stuff memories ideas history my past my lost past my who I was that I forgot was somehow coming back in this dirty little apartment on 46th St.
Then I saw something.
“We have to STOP! NOW. PLEASE!”
I folded forward almost hyperventilating with fear.
There was an incredibly long, oh so pregnant till the end of time pause.
Yanni touched my shoulder. “Are you alright?”
“Yes.” I rolled my body up to standing.
“What did you see?” Yanni whispered compassionately.
Again, that incredibly long, pregnant till the end of time pause.
“I saw my grandfather.” Tears fell from my eyes. “Only he was younger, in his thirties, dressed funny, something was happening… it was bad, and he wasn’t chasing us with his dentures.”
(I told the tale of Grampa and his dentures in an earlier blog post.)
Yanni stood, looking at me.
“How could I see my grandfather in his thirties?” I continued. “I wasn’t alive yet.”
He looked at me softly, smiled and said,
“There are more things in heaven and earth, then are dreamt in our philosophy. Sometimes memories are passed down through our DNA.”
Grampa was back.
And his dentures now were firmly embedded in my ASS.