Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fierce Medicine by Ana Forrest - A Book Review

When my individual yoga teacher Pat Donaher told me that Fierce Medicine was 'required reading', I knew that it was a very important book for me to read. I had seen something about the book on facebook. Pat knew my trauma history and knew that Ana's journey would help me in my healing journey. We had no idea!

While I had a chaotic and traumatic childhood, it pales in comparison to what Ana Forrest experienced yet there were shared moments as she discovers the truth about the extent of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse she experienced as she listens to what her body is telling her. Through the physical and spiritual exercises Ana puts forth in her book juxtaposed with the telling of her story, I embarked on a deeper transformation and healing. As Ana takes us on her healing journey I found myself finding the courage to deeply listen to my body and to make what Ana calls, healing choices. I brought forth the healing suggestions she makes in Fierce Medicine to my life on and off the mat.

Whether or not you practice yoga, this book will bring forth a sense of empowerment and healing, and love and compassion. As Ana journeys to live her authentic life, you will find yourself yearning to let your Spirit come home and fill a bigger place in your body and in your life. While I still experience flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety, they no longer have a hold on me for as Ana says, I have become the predator rather than the prey. I have new tools to heal my life and to take my place on the center stage of my life - at 57 years old!

There is power in the words in Ana's book and she does call forth the Sacred Ones to help 'mend the hoop of the people.' Before reading Ana's book, I had a connection to my Spirit and to the Divine in the world around me but while reading Fierce Medicine I felt my heart open and receptive to the signs of the wonder in the world around me. Last week I was having a particularly difficult day. I decided all I could do was to read Ana's book and ride the emotional storm I was experiencing. I went to a small beach in Gloucester with my family. The waves are usually small in this inlet and even at high tide there is space to sit on this small stretch of beach. On this day, the waves were churning mimicking the storm I was feeling inside. I got caught in a vise like grip with a bunch of tangled seaweed that was trying to pull me down. In the middle of my emotional storm, I felt the power in my core and said to the seaweed, you are not gonna take me down. I waited for the swirling waters to settle and pull back the seaweed.

When I returned to my beach chair with waves fiercely lapping at the legs of my chair, a wave splashed the book in the shape of a hand with a finger pointing down on page 184 "The Thunder Kachina or Spirits were talking to me! I had the sense that it was affectionate contact-something really big having communication with really small me. The message was clear:I mattered. My growly, bitchy self meant something to the Sacred Ones. This broke my heart open. ... It shook the old delusional beliefs about my worthlessness right out of me and into the ground. I could no longer deny the truth of that which moves in all things also flowing through me."

The struggle within me became crystal clear. Was I going to allow the messages literally beaten into me and the messages I created to somehow make sense of the abuse to prevail or was I going to choose Love and allow Love to heal. With an ocean wave being drawn to Ana Forrest's powerful words, my choice became crystal clear and although the struggle is there, it no longer has its powerful hold over me. I return to the words - I matter even though people tried to destroy my life force as they once tried to destroy Ana's.

I choose life. I choose to feel pain instead of numbness because as the pain subsides and the storms dissipate, there is a beautiful rainbow of love. There is healing and there are beautiful healers like Ana Forrest,who are mending the hoop of the people to move from brokenness to healing, from fear to Love and from paralysis and numbness to the fullness of life. For more information about Ana Forrest and Forrest Yoga, visit Ana's website. While I have not yet taken a Forrest Yoga class, I am going to be taking my first class with the creatrix herself, Ana Forrest on September 25th at Back Bay Yoga Studio. I am a little scared and a whole lot exhilarated as I anticipate this experience knowing that all of the signs are there for me to experience this Fierce Medicine heavily laden with love and compassion.

With love and gratitude
From my heart to yours,