In 2006, I was faced with a particularly aggressive, life-threatening illness. Should anyone ask me today I would and could recommend excellent surgeons, oncologists and radiologists, all of whom I credit for saving my life at that time.
It is, however, my IA teacher, Kathy Bledsoe, to whom I attribute my healing, recovery, and ability to thrive and live a life I continue to grow and to love. Initially, I chose IA to help me find a way to sleep. I had all kinds of medications for sleep, and yet could not sleep…the demons in the night. I was fortunate to meet Kathy in 2007 at my first of 8 sessions over the course of 3 years that began with a desire for better sleep, then became so much more. Kathy herself is a very peaceful, caring and grounded woman, who is genuine.
Before each session, she gathers information about you and your intentions for that session. She initially described the process to me with a simple question: What do you wish for, either more of, or less of, at this time, in this session? My first session, although I’d spoken with her by phone prior to making my appointment, I was skeptic, besides knowing I wished for undisturbed sleep…how did this work? When I asked her for all the specifics, I wanted to know the nitty-gritty details, the facts…she said simply ‘I don’t know exactly,’ and proceeded to tell me that our work together would be lead by my central nervous system, my energies, my body would lead her to support my own learning process…no protocols. I almost didn’t stay for the session. When Kathy felt my hesitation, she made me an offer I did not refuse: if I was willing to get on the table and experience the session, we would do the session, and when it was over, if I wasn’t satisfied, I could leave, no questions asked and no payment required. I hopped on the table.
I closed my eyes, and surrendered gradually to the process. At first, she seemed to check various things through light touch, or placement of her hands, on my ankles, my tailbone, my knees, my chest, my abdomen, my right arm, and then I became aware at some point of my breathing being deeper than I’d recalled for some time. It is difficult to explain exactly what she did; I felt no pain, only her presence and her touch. At times, her hands got very warm. I experienced a deep stillness in my body.
Towards the end of our session, Kathy encouraged me to stay with that stillness for as long as I felt comfortable being in that state. When I was ready, Kathy helped me gently and without effort on her part, or mine, to a position sitting at the edge of the table. I felt a bit light-headed, and I felt a lot more than I have words to describe, a sense of something I’d not previously experienced. When I opened my eyes, she was standing by the table, directly in front of me, I felt terrific, and asked her, ‘When should I come back?’ She told me to listen to my body, that just as each person’s experience is different, so is their body’s timing as to being ready to return, and that when I felt I wanted more, then return.
I no longer recall what each of our sessions’ intention(s) were; sometimes there were multiple intentions for a single session. I returned after two weeks for my second session. Sometimes there were months between sessions. I do recall working with Kathy on various aspects of my health as I continued to heal; on my relationship with my former husband; on my relationship with my mother; on my relationship with my daughter; and at one point, even my relationship to the other women in the clinical trial in which I took part during my cancer treatment, when none of them survived after the first three years. At that point, my oncologists wanted to know what was I doing that was not on ‘the protocol’ of the clinical trial? The only thing I did differently was becoming a student of IA.
IA is intense, and, at times, not necessarily comfortable, and, the results for me immeasurable. Now I know how to pay attention, and more importantly, what to pay attention to, when it comes to really living my life. I recommend to anyone who wants to create more ease in their life to give their self the gift of IA.