Recently, I went to something called Bars Access Energy Therapy. The idea behind it is that the body’s illnesses aren’t caused only by an unhealthy diet or imbalanced (a.k.a. stressful) lifestyle, but also by negative thoughts and emotions. These negative thoughts and emotions block the smooth flow of energy throughout the body in much the same way that cholesterol blocks the easy circulation of blood. Bars Therapy is supposed to “unblock” bottle-necks throughout the body to achieve a smooth, balanced flow of energy.
Not only do I buy this idea, I sell it. I’m one of those staunch believers in mind-body connections and therapies, but when my friend Lizanne, who was so amazed at the insights she had during her own bars therapy, gifted me with a session for my birthday this year, I hedged.
Insights, I thought. Do I really need more of that right now? At that time, I was already five months at work on my second book and I felt I was drowning in insights as it was. So I waited. Two months later--and stuck in a whirlpool called my book’s introduction--I was ready for outside help.
The therapists—or healers—are a male-female team, David and Claudine, in a classic show of balanced yin-yang energy. David is a writer, Claudine, among other things, is psychic. I liked them both instantly.
After conducting a short ritual that would “open” me up—to the healing energy, I suppose--they asked me to remove my shoes and to lie, face up, on a massage bed. Both healers decided that David would take the lead (while Claudine would act as support) because, according to them, his energy was closer to mine than Claudine’s. “You’re both writers,” Claudine said in answer to my eye-blinking questioning face.
I expected them to bring out “bars”. And, for some reason, the “bars” I saw in my head were bricks. Somehow, when my friend was telling me about her therapy, I imagined red bricks being piled on her, depending on how stressed out she was. I wondered how many “bars”—bricks--I would require.
In any case, there were no such brick “bars”. The healers explained to me that this kind of therapy got its name from the points on either side of the head which connect to form an imaginary bar.
David pressed his fingers against these points in my head, mumbled some things and told me to “say ‘yes’”. So I said “yes”. He asked if I felt anything and I was tempted to say “yes”, but…”You know, I don’t think I’m really that sensitive…” Then he mumbled some things again and told me to “say ‘yes’”, so I said “yes”.
Meanwhile, Claudine’s lands hovered over my chest. She frowned. She addressed David: “Matigas dito…”
I didn’t understand half of what was happening, and I suspect I wasn’t supposed to. At least, not intellectually. I was practicing a new thing: trying not to think too much. So somewhere in the middle of the session, I stopped trying to understand what was going on and just sort of flowed with it. I don’t know if that inner decision had anything to do with it, but suddenly, there came—ta-dah!--the insights.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama says this about insight: “Even if you seek to help someone out of concern, without insight you cannot be very clear about what benefit will come of your efforts. A combination is needed: a good human heart as well as a good human brain. With these working together, we can achieve a lot.”
And, boy, did I want to achieve a lot, beginning with getting myself together. Which, I had come to realize over the past couple or so years, was already a lot of work.
Even David, who’s not psychic, seemed to think so. “You’re…well, I wouldn’t say you’re running on empty. But you’re running on one-fourth the energy you need. And it’s decreasing.”
Oh, wow. He knew this from pressing the sides of my head?
I don’t remember who asked about it but suddenly we were talking about the major break-up I just had early this year. How tough it was, how that whole relationship exhausted—depleted—me, and how it came to a point where I had to choose between the survival of the relationship or the survival of me.
“That bad, huh?” Claudine said.
“How do you feel?” David asked for the nth time.
“I’m OK,” I said.
“I mean, do you feel anything now…any sensations?”
“Um…I don’t know,” I said. “I feel cold.”
“Cold?” Claudine asked. She reached over and took my hand. “Malamig nga.”
“It’s the aircon,” I said, unconvincingly. I’d already been told by several doctors—both holistic and conventional—that my blood circulation was poor, which is why my body doesn’t react “normally” to changes in temperature.
“It’s not that cold,” Claudine observed, referring to the room, and I felt her making some connections in her head. She touched my feet. Even with my socks on, they still felt cold. “Hmm…”
David verbalized the connection Claudine must have been making between my cold hands and feet and my “rock hard” chest and solar plexus. He said that my body heat seemed to be concentrated in my torso, that my center was drawing heat from my extremities. As if it was protecting something…
“If you can visualize your solar plexus, what does it look like?” Claudine asked.
I didn’t have to think hard. In fact, I don’t think I thought at all because there suddenly was the image of a round thing with rays emanating from it. I described it to Claudine.
“What is it made of?” she asked.
“Metal.” Again, my answer was fast and sure.
“You’re protecting something,” she said, thoughtful. Then, a second later: “You’re protecting a child.”
“You’re protecting your inner child,” she said.
“How old is she?” Claudine asked.
“Four,” I said, without hesitation.
“What happened when you were four?” she asked.
She asked if any particular memory stood out and I instantly saw this little girl with bangs and a high ponytail wearing nothing but frilly white underpants, socks and shoes. I had seen those photos of me. I was in the
“People are telling me who I should be,” I said, and even I was surprised as I did so.
“Should…” Claudine was quick to take note of this. “Who are these people—your parents?”
“My parents, my grandparents, my uncles, my aunties, their friends—everyone.” I could actually hear them baby-talking to me, cooing, telling me I should be this and that because I’m so this-and-that. I felt my body tense up.
“Who do you want to be?” Claudine asked.
“And who do they want you to be?”
I thought a moment. “Themselves.” More specifically, the selves they didn’t think they could be.
I had gone down this road before. Had written about it in countless journal entries over the years, went to psychotherapy as a way to answer the question of why the people in my life couldn’t seem to just let me be. Why they had such set notions about what I should do, how I should behave, who I should love and why, in God’s name, did I feel so threatened by it? As though they really had the power to make me into what they had in mind.
I had finally figured out the answer to the first part (the part where they felt entitled to say who I should be)—at least, in my head, I did—so, as a way to be fair to these “people”, whom I love very much, I explained to Claudine that I am the eldest granddaughter. So I became the natural focus of my family’s affection; that they also naturally projected onto me all the things they wished they could have been, the way people tend to do with a new baby—an assumed blank slate.
The attention was rather intense, me being the first granddaughter (my older cousin, a male, was in
So I told Claudine this. I said, “My friend says I’m forever in warrior pose. It’s my favorite yoga pose.”
“It’s my favorite, too,” Claudine said. “But ‘forever’? That must be so tiring,” she said sympathetically.
“It is,” I said, and I felt like crying. My God, it’s tiring. And, only recently, I also figured out the second part of my seemingly life-long angst (the part where I felt threatened by other people’s desire to mold me)—I was afraid I wasn’t strong enough to fend them off, that one day I’d succumb and live a fake life just to shut them up already, that I’d live a life that made them—but not me—happy.
“You know,” Claudine continued. “You may have kept people out, but you’ve also locked in your authentic self. Let it come out. It’s time you let it out.”
Then she said the words I realized I most needed to hear from another person: “It’s safe to be who you are.”
(If you'd like to experience this kind of therapy, you may reach Claudine Mangasing at +639178958191 or David Montecillo at +639178170396.)