CASE STUDY #2 – SAM
Editor's note: This is an edited version from the complete case narrative which appears in Signature Energy Work: Accessing, Evaluating, and Transforming the Personal Energy Field by Dr. Cora B. Llera, D.C.
Sam had been coming to my office for years. He came only occasionally at first, and then only on the insistence of his wife. He was extremely skeptical of any type of alternative medicine, having come from a traditional medical background; his father had been a medical doctor in the small town where Sam grew up. Sam spent many hours as a child watching sick people going in to his father’s home-office, and coming out again after receiving an injection or precisely-worded prescription, or, if the case was bad, a ride in an ambulance to the hospital in the larger town nearby. This was Sam’s familiar concept of medicine.
Sam often complained of stiffness in his mid-back, and came to me strictly for chiropractic adjustments to this area—and then only because it gave him immediate, albeit temporary, relief. Over time, he also mentioned to me that he suffered with frequent episodes of gastric bloating and a sense of heaviness around the liver. When he was very stressed, he would develop small ulcers in his mouth, on the tongue and insides of his lips. His wife spoke to him repeatedly, and enthusiastically, about her experiences with Signature Energy Work. He mentioned this to me while in my office one day, and asked if I could “tell him some things about himself.”
His physical complaint on that day was the usual one, general stiffness and sudden acute mid-back spasms. I asked him to lie face-down on my table, so that I could examine the mid-back area and do some deep massage work there first … I explained that this particular area of the spine is where the nerves that feed the liver, gallbladder, and stomach have their roots, and suggested that his back pain may be related to his digestive symptoms. I told him that it was possible for one to be causing the other, but more likely they were both just symptoms of the same problem. It would be interesting to know where that problem was coming from. He asked if I could find out, and said that he would really like to understand why he had digestive problems, since his doctors could never find anything “wrong” with him. With this, I knew Sam was finally ready for some Signature Energy Work.
Mariposa Lily addresses the energy block
[The Signature Energy Work process made] it clear that the cause of Sam’s back pain was related to his liver. … [that] was deficient in energy due to a Block. The Block energy tested as being physical in nature, and had been in place since he was 7 years old. The energy that was being blocked, that needed to move in to his liver, was emotional, characterized by the flower essence Mariposa Lily, and was related to his mother. I explained these findings to Sam, then read aloud to him the description of Mariposa Lily, as found in the Flower Essence Repertory.
I asked Sam to describe his mother to me, reminding him that the Mariposa Lily pattern was hers, and not necessarily his. … [His] description correlated perfectly with the Mariposa Lily. His mother had been deeply wounded by losing her mother. She felt unwanted and unloved from her earliest memory, and this painfully wounded child was what she projected outward into the world whenever she felt unhappy. And, she usually projected it toward the people to whom she felt closest.
“You don’t love me” is a very negative energy to be faced with every day. Sam’s father quickly became immune to it, and stopped spending much time at home. Sam had nowhere else he could go. He had the limited understanding and resources of a child, so he did what “good” children do; he swallowed his mother’s beliefs and feelings—lock, stock, and barrel. Then he made it be all about him. In his mind, he was the one who didn’t love her enough, he was the one causing her pain, and he was the one who should fix it.
Our muscle-testing had indicated that Sam began blocking the negative emotional energy coming from his mother at 7 years of age, so I asked him what particular event he could recall from that time in his life.
Carrying the weight of shame and anger
Because he lived in a very small town, there was no school nearby. His mother taught him his alphabet and numbers, reading and basic math, at home. He was a pretty fast learner, and by the time he was 7, his mother had taught him everything that her own very limited education could provide for him. By this time he was also the "apple of his mother’s eye." Because his father was almost always out of the house … his mother often looked to Sam for attention and affection. From a very young age, as young as he could remember, he was her protector. He always took care of her when she was lonely, afraid or ill, which was often.
When he was 7, Sam had to leave his mother to go off to school in the next town, riding the bus daily on his own. In the small world of his home, he was the perfect son. In the larger world he was, of course, a complete "mama’s boy." Placed in a class of children that were older than he was, because of his mother’s diligence at home, he was the smallest boy in his classroom. His classmates teased him mercilessly and the teasing escalated into beatings. He was too small to defend himself and the teachers didn’t seem to see what was going on. Sam still felt, some 50 years later, a tremendous sense of shame and anger about this. He still saw himself as weak. This certainly explained why the liver was the site of the blocking energy. The liver is the processor of anger and shame, so naturally it would be affected.
I asked Sam why his mother hadn’t intervened in this situation. Did she not speak to the teachers, or to the principal of the school? He said that he never told her about it. He didn’t know why.
Of course he didn’t tell her. He was her protector; it never occurred to him that she should be protecting him. The collision of her needs and his had paralyzed him, and his ability to seek protection. The anger at his abusers, and the shame at being abused, became bottled up in his liver. From that time forward, he used that angry liver heat to block her emotional projections, her feelings of being unloved and unwanted (the negative qualities of Mariposa Lily). This was the only way he could find to protect himself. Now, whenever he was very stressed by the circumstances of his adult life, when he needed a little nurturing and caring (the positive Mariposa Lily qualities), the liver would ignite again, blocking his ability to take in these energies and triggering his back pain and mouth ulcers.
Opening to the emotional nurturing of the archetypal mother
As I gently but firmly began to move my hands into his liver area, I explained to Sam that it was time for him to stop blocking the emotional energy of mother. He laughed shallowly and explained that his mother had died several years ago. Yes, I concurred, unblocking himself to his mother’s emotional energy would do him little good, by the way, even if she were still living. What he needed now was to open up to the emotional nurturing of the archetypal mother, the warm and unconditionally loving energy that is the ideal of Mother.
I explained that eventually it becomes necessary for each of us to look to a higher source of emotional mothering than just our own human mother’s. As children, our mother provides us with the general sense that everything is OK, that we are taken care of, that there is a wiser, more powerful intelligence in charge of our welfare, and that this powerful intelligence is guiding us toward our highest potential. Somewhere along the way to adulthood we have to shift this natural human expectation of “mothering” from our actual human mother, to our spiritual Mother, the benevolent intelligence of the universe, God, Goddess, Spirit, our own Higher Self, Destiny, etc. (depending on one’s spiritual orientation).
Without the general sense that we are protected and guided, we may be left with a deep and constant undercurrent of fear. Sam had been disconnected from this sense of being “mothered” since he was 7 years old, effectively blocking his ability to shift to a higher sense of “Mother ... the natural model for this type of shift should be his own parents, who, while Sam was a child, would be gradually developing their own mature sense of Mother as their lives progressed, and their own spiritual experiences and understandings took shape. … But Sam’s father had rarely been available to him as a model for anything, and his mother had never made the shift herself, which is of course why Sam had been coerced into being her protector.
Faith, a sense of trust in and connection with a larger source of guidance and purpose, is often like an undeveloped muscle that just needs to be exercised. Sam’s assignment, then, was to practice the feeling of faith. In order to accomplish that, he would first need to spend some time thinking about the nature of faith, for him personally: what it would be like to know that everything was going along perfectly, as planned by a higher level of intelligence. With that definition in mind, he then had to learn to stop himself when he felt stressed, or when his liver or back was hurting… .
Applying the essence releases the block
I once again asked Sam to lie face down so that I could access the area of his spine related neurologically to his liver, and work on the physical energy of the block held in his mid-back muscles. I put a few drops of the Mariposa Lily essence on my hands, and began to probe the muscular trigger points, the knots of tension and blocked, stagnant energy—in his back. As I worked, I asked him to focus on letting go of the blocking energy held in this area, the anger and shame, as well as the belief that he was unprotected and so must constantly defend himself. I instructed him to let this blocking energy flow outward, off of his body and into my hands, where I could collect it for him and dispose of it properly. He breathed deeply, allowing my hands to move deeper into the tissues, releasing the tension held there. Once the release felt complete, I told him that it was time to set an intention for the type of “mothering” energy he would now like to experience and contain in this area. After giving him some time to clarify this intention in his mind, I then asked him once again to engage his breath with his intention: using his breath as an energetic pump, he inhaled his new “Mother” energy toward himself and then exhaled it into his back and his liver, filling the area with feelings of safety, nurturing and love.
I have seen Sam since that visit for other problems, but his severe mid-back spasms and mouth ulcers have never recurred to any significant extent. He told me that when he feels his back start to tighten up, or the familiar hot pain in his mouth begins to threaten, he tries to relax and look for the value in his current circumstances, to explore what they might be teaching him, rather than assume that something is “wrong.” This always allows his symptoms to fade.
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