Left to right: Karina, BodyTalk Access Trainer Lisa Sullivan, Angela, Prairie (Age 10)

Growing Up With BodyTalk: One Teenager’s Experience

What do I say about BodyTalk? I have woven it in and out of my life for the past eight years. The notion of being without it, and who I might be in its absence, is slightly unnerving.

BodyTalk Access, in particular, has been serving me since I was ten years old, when I attended my first class. Though I was used to gatherings of these sorts, “Mom’s meetings,” or, “Stuff my mom does,” as I might have called them, I had never considered myself a direct participant in such an activity before. This class had long tables and large chairs. Everyone was significantly taller than I, but quiet, still, and patient. (I resolved to hold my ground as they did, so as not to appear anything less than dignified.) I remember bringing a new notebook and pen to the occasion, and scribbled some of the techniques down as they were touched upon. I then promptly forgot about taking notes at all for the rest of the class. After I graduated, I didn’t bother to use the skills I’d learned either. (Not unexpected behavior from an inquisitive, and also fast-minded ten-year old, I suppose.) 

Though I didn’t know it yet, that experience would mark my entry into the world of conscious, intentional self-development.

Before my mom convinced me to try learning BodyTalk for myself, I was receiving one-on-one treatments from her and, before that, the acquaintance who introduced her to this modality. I was skeptical, unafraid of sounding unimpressed, and willfully sarcastic around this weird, new thing I didn’t understand. I did, however, notice how my nosebleeds would seem to mysteriously slow or cease their flow, burns would cool, headaches would ease, and scrapes would seal, all with unnerving speed. Most notably, in retrospect, my unrelenting anxiety magically vanished after receiving a one-on-one session from my Access trainer. 

Over the next half-decade I attended approximately a dozen BodyTalk Access classes, a half-dozen longer courses under the BodyTalk umbrella, and numerous workshops exploring the bodymind as a gateway to higher health and healing. During that period, if you’d asked me why all of those things interested me, I don’t know what I would have said. At the time, they just seemed like the right things to do. I received abundant praise and credit for my growing awareness and intellect, and that certainly provided incentive to continue; beyond the encroaching narcissistic, egocentric self I was gaining as a result of the way I thought other people saw me, I was swimming in the perfect matrix to recognize it was happening. 

I crashed my bike when I was fourteen, hurting my dominant wrist. I could barely move it, even though there was very little pain. My sibling applied a technique we learned in the Access class, and my mom later gave me a full BodyTalk session. The next day I was doing side-planks on it.

A friend of mine began to feel nauseous and anxious at a sleepover. I did one technique and she quickly calmed and fell asleep.

If I wake up in the morning with a tickle in my throat, by the time I go through the full Access routine, I don’t feel it anymore. 

As I have swam deeper into this modality, however, I have been confronted again and again with the experience of how my physical wellbeing is infallibly tied to my mental and emotional reality. With BodyTalk, I am able to directly address the underlying mental and emotional patterns operating within me, whether I am conscious of them or not (often I am not).

It has not been my experience that BodyTalk Access is a one-size-fits-all modality. But I would no sooner sacrifice utilizing those techniques daily than my clothing in the winter. A few days ago I was contemplating conducting an experiment in which I go a week or a few days without doing BodyTalk Access. I decided against this very quickly. Like brushing my teeth or moving my body, it is regular maintenance, and the thought of foregoing such a poignant activity, even for a brief period, was not appealing in the least.

The main challenges I face are internal, intense, and often inexplicable. Yes, I am human. And yes, my mind is constantly interacting with expansion and contraction, positive and negative interactions, desire, repulsion, life, and decay. Bodytalk does not and cannot directly solve my problems — but I can. It is with these techniques (and as a result, inevitable education and awareness of myself) that I feel empowered to lean into challenge, and even embrace it.

For as long as I can remember I have consciously and subconsciously sought out responsibilities, opportunities, jobs, and ideals that have created experiences that trigger my doubt, skepticism, fear, uncertainty, and ultimately crack me open. Somehow my body knows that, to grow, I need to push those buttons and bring my deepest patterns to the surface. In that moment I’m unsure of how I am going to make it out the same way I was when I arrived and I never do: I change. I evolve and heal.

I am powerful, and capable of resiliency — we all are. I don’t know if I would have tapped into that power without BodyTalk. My reality does not seem so black and white. Life is dynamic, spiraling up and down in this kaleidoscopic universe. My current growth edge is accepting the curveballs and loving that messy, awkward process. No, I am not perfect in the sense that I don’t have flaws, but I am learning that my flaws don’t have to be “bad” and maybe that there is absolute perfection wherever there is chaos, which happens to be everywhere, with everything, and in everyone to some degree. 

I’m still not certain and perhaps I never will be, but I have a few tools (BodyTalk Access, to name one) to help me, and maybe it will help you too.

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