The headache comes and goes - sometimes just a tug on the temples, sometimes a vice around my forehead. It's part of the detox process, of course. It's my third day without solid food and, actually, that part of it is absolutely fine. But I'm realising, more and more, that I'm too uptight for words. I sit by the pool and find myself fidgeting within minutes. I lie on my bed and realise that my shoulders are locked and my arms are so rigid it's as they're clutching something - an imaginery sword? My jaw is clamped. When did I get so tense? Why can't I relax?
'You're exhausted,' said Janni, looking at me with huge compassion from her side of the computer. She's been testing me on something called the Physiospekt (but more of that later). She reckons that it's my major problem - total exhaustion brought on by constant tension.
So I figured maybe some bodywork might help. Moinhos Velhos has a core team of therapists who cover everything from reflexology, deep tissue massage and acupuncture to 'Herbal Stamp' (no, I'd never heard of it before) and 'Tibetan Pulse Healing" (nope, not heard of that either). So I found myself stripped off in a small warm room with Anita pressing deeply yet softly (if that makes any sense) down either side of my spine.
'What would you like me to do?' she'd asked. She does the lot, does Anita - hypnotherapy, past life regression, rebirthing, NLP, spiritual life coaching, cranio-sacral, deep tissue, astrological birth chart reading as well as Tibetan Pulse Healing (which, it turns out, is a mix of sound vibration, deep/soft touch, and pulsing of the energy centres of the body to release stress and stuck energy patterns in the bodymind).
'I'll leave it up to you,' I said. 'Use your intuition. But I don't want to talk, I've done enough talking; I'd rather do it via the body.'
Which is exactly what she did. She loosened my shoulders, my neck, my back, my arms - sometimes it felt like acupressure, sometimes more like remedial massage, sometimes like Tragerwork. Pressing, pulling, shaking, shimmying.
Then she asked me to start conscious connected breathing (the breathwork of Rebirthing, in which you inhale and exhale through the mouth without any retention of breath - no pause.)
Now, I've had amazing bodywork before and I've done Rebirthing but I've never experienced the two combined. You know what? There are no words really. When I think back over what ended up as a two hour session, I lost about an hour, somewhere in the breath, somewhere around when she was working on my heart. It hurt, it really hurt. Not physically, although the breath can feel a little uncomfortable, but emotionally. I was embraced by a coldness, the emotional equivalent of being stuck in a freezer. My heart turned stone.
'Breathe into it,' urged Anita and I tried, I did, even though it was like breathing with a huge boulder pressing down on my chest. Desolation. Hurt. An unbearable sadness that tunnelled way back to a time and place so far away it felt like a different continent. I couldn't stop myself crying.
Now I thought I'd done enough of this stuff, I really did. I thought I was through all this emotional crap, but it seems not. It struck me that once again, lately, I'd done what I've done all through my life, form a carapace around myself, so as not to feel the pain. It works, in a way, but it's not a comfortable way to live one's life, is it?
So, Anita worked on it, and unravelled me a bit and told me stuff I knew but never seem to take on board and...it was good, it was damn good. So I left a lot looser and easier in myself and took myself down to my little room, feeling almost happy. Here and now. Or rather, there and then.