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  • Writer's pictureThalien Colenbrander

First encounters with energy work

⚡ 5-day Energy work training completed! 16-20 June 2023, Olhão, Portugal ⚡

This was the fifth bodywork training I’ve done over the last two years and was the most challenging, mentally at least. Here’s my take on what happened and my takeaways of this experience…

In the first 3 days, I found myself constantly questioning the validity of what teacher Robert Henderson was teaching us. My difficulty was accepting the notion that reading energy is highly personal in the way it is experienced and how it discloses information to you as a therapist. For example, just because Robert, through his vast 20+ experience in energy work, knows that cold, sticky feet indicates the energy of fear/insecurity, does that mean I will experience it like that too? In bodywork, will I also sometimes see symbols like snakes and dragons in my mind's eye when working with the second chakra? Will I also sense the colour golden brown to indicate the presence of unexpressed anger and the colour combination gray/black to indicate a person who is untrusting of yin, female energy? It all sounds a bit like fantasy sci-fi to me, definitely not my thing in bodywork or even for entertainment - I’m really not into Lord of the Rings or any of that kind of stuff 🐉🤔

My inner student wanted fool-proof, scientifically backed up methods and techniques that I could copy-paste into my bodywork practise. And I wasn’t getting it, which frustrated me. On the third day, I even sent a little rant via WhatsApp to a fellow massage therapist whom I suspected had done this training in the past, asking him what he thought of all this. He never answered me, for which I’m thankful (if you’re reading this B. thx😆!). I had to figure this one out myself...

The funny thing is that as left-brain oriented as I may sound, in bodywork I’m actually pretty right-brain (if brain at all). I don’t strategize what I’m going to do beforehand, I just start somewhere and go with the flow of what vibe I’m picking up from my client and respond to that. And more and more, I find myself spontaneously doing things without understanding why. Like placing my hand somewhere different from where I usually would, pausing longer than normal, working a body part more rigorously than average, applying a new (i.e. new to me) technique on the spot, or even making certain sounds. I can’t explain it, and when it happens, I’m as much a receiver of it as is the client. This is intuition at work.

Yet when someone like Robert comes along with his graphic representations of how he encounters and works with energy, I’m like whoa dude - hold your horses. Yes, I want you to explain energy to me, but not like this! This is like intuition on steroids. So, what did I want? Someone to teach me stuff that matches what I already know, what I expect? Doesn’t real openness and learning also imply allowing preconceptions to be blasted to shreds? To dare to tread the unknown?

Perhaps I wasn’t able to honour the validity of his perceptions because I wasn’t yet fully validating and owning mine? What I’ve leaned from this training is that in energy work, nobody is going to hand me the holy grail of technical or factual information. I wanted answers from Robert, but instead he shared his vast experience. Energy work was knocking on my door in the form of an elderly Irishman, and what I was feeling was the fear of being deluded. I didn't check if my feet were cold or sticky 😁

Many realisations and useful teachings, both practical and esoteric, were planted but by main takeaway is:

In energy work, me trusting my own experience IS the holy grail. From that cup, all the answers I need to know will flow abundantly. The training opened the portal to energy work for me, inviting me to explore and further develop my sensitivity, to trust my intuition and stop undermining myself by labelling any of my intuitive deviations as childish or redundant. When I’m ‘in the zone’, images, ideas and responses that spontaneously arise during bodywork aren’t trivial, but actually trailheads to be used to inform the direction in which the treatment is going. Yes, I will make mistakes and detours along the way, but how else do we hone a skill?

Looking forward to exploring energy in my upcoming treatments - the next will be tomorrow morning!⚡🔥💥

If you're interested in Robert Henderson's work, you can check him out here: . During the 5-day training, he taught directly from his book Emotion and Healing in the Energy Body so if this post sparked your interest, go ahead and buy his book to learn more about the magical world of energy work :-)

xx Thalien

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