Before I attended my first AEQ therapy, I thought that I would learn a couple of exercises that I will perform for a few months and that my undefined chronic pain will ease itself or maybe even disappear. After a few years of slowly getting familiar with the method, I can say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. My interpretation was completely illusory. I never imagined I would plow where I definitely didn’t want to be.
During active sessions, I experienced mostly disappointments over myself as I slowly became aware that I was feeling bad about my body. Because I exaggerated in performing the exercises to feel certain muscles at all, I felt pain all too often. I didn’t know how to catch the right moves, make them feel enjoyable, and learn from them. At the same time, my ego often guided me with the goal of, say, bringing my hand as close to the ground as possible, even though I had already crossed the comfort zone. I became aware that this isn’t the goal, but I never really understood it. My ego was stronger than the well-meaning advice I received. I was becoming tired. I was often accompanied by strong feelings of confusion and not even knowing what I was doing and that I haven’t even grasped the point of the method. I got confused every time I had to describe what I felt inside my body and when asked to describe the difference between before and after. My conscious feeling was very weak.
I have compared myself too much to others who have experienced such and other successes in terms of their well-being and pain reduction and have been happy, smiling, full of energy, of some clarity. I felt inferior like I didn’t know or couldn’t handle something. I thought that it was clear to everyone but me. At the same time, I complicated my life even further by adding strong idealistic goals of how things should be and what I should feel inside my body. My ideals were very different from my current situation. I desired relaxation in my body while I felt anxiety and tension.
I didn’t even realize how bad of a situation I was in. I had no idea how much I exaggerated during exercises and how much my ego was enslaving my body. Despite the fact I didn’t achieve any goals that I placed, I kept going.
I realized that comparing myself to others will only impact me negatively. No two people have the same story, the same experiences, and events that transpired in their lives. It wasn’t until the last year that I realized how to perform movements. I stopped exaggerating, started enjoying the movement. Accordingly, the attitude towards performing the exercises began to change. It used to be just another obligation, something I have to do to get improvement. For a long time, I wanted to perform the exercise from beginning to end no matter the cost, despite not being ready to perform certain movements because my awareness was too poor. I couldn’t perform then without experiencing pain. Then I finally realized that I could also do individual segments of exercises. When I began comparing the sensations in my body with the blowing of the wind, soft clouds, the fog, dark nights, and openness, I knew that I broke through the suppression of expression.
I began to alter my posture, and I notice that I’m collapsing. I sometimes still feel very comfortable sitting with a collapsed posture, but this time I am at least aware of it and consciously choose to remain in it. Whenever I transfer weight to only one leg, for example, when cooking, I notice it and quickly correct myself. On this occasion, I would also like to praise the films about the AEQ method made by Žiga Božič Žagar.
At first, I was paying the most attention to exercises, but then I realized that this method’s true learning process lies somewhere different. It’s learning to know, accept and love yourself. Learn to fall in love and accept your body. It’s fascinating how I managed to change, for example, my relationship with my legs. Like most women, I believed that my thighs were completely too strong and spoiled my physique. As a teenager, I stood in front of the mirror and got angry at them. I remember my mom trying to comfort me and explain that there was nothing wrong with my feet. But it took quite a few more years for me to be ready to really hear this information from my teacher, then some more time for me to feel a different attitude towards them myself. Today I can caress them, thank them and feel tenderness towards them.
I try to maintain a more genuine attitude towards myself and others, to, once again, feel safe and trust life. The exercises are only one of the tools which help me on the path of connecting with myself. I am being flooded by feelings of fear, weakness, and indefinable sadness. In these last few weeks, I feel like I am standing in front of a doorway, opening up more and more. Completely on their own, without my input. Behind them are strong feelings, like destructiveness, depression, helplessness, primal fear, sadness, anger, hatred, revenge, jealousy, indulgence, shame. The dark part of me is here, the thing that has always been here and is increasingly screaming for attention and observation. The part that I subconsciously and consciously push away and get scared of every time it gets a little more intense. I am looking for a way to enter without fear. How to find stability within instability. How to endure difficult moments when you don’t have anyone around to support you, and you can’t find a point to rely on. I’m looking for answers all the time. All I know is that it’s not going to go the way I imagined existed. I hope that someday there will come a time when I will be able to feel that the door isn’t really there at all and that it’s all one.
This is a path that one must take alone because only you can feel what is inside you. It is easier if you’re not completely alone and have people you can rely on. I am thankful to everyone that has helped me on my path and is still helping me move forward. They mirror to me what I couldn’t possibly understand, and I was actually just starting to learn that I’m good the way I am. That my dark side doesn’t make me any different from anyone else.
What matters is who is willing to help you. One of them was Petra Šmid Seljak, who accepted me when I was in a very vulnerable and sad state. At her therapies, I was relaxed, felt safe, and accepted, and I enjoyed the conversations we had. With her help, I took more than just the necessary step out of my illusion.
In any case, the path I set out on, which somewhere on the way turned into something completely new and as of yet unformed, would not have started at all if I did not have a teacher with me who knows more than me in which direction to go. He knows how to comfort and support, elegantly subdue you when you cement yourself at a certain point and cling to it frightened or stubborn; he can recognize which skills you have not developed in life, guides you in what you need, supports and encourages you through the process, and restores your confidence.