In mid- October, 2005 i wrote in my livejournal,
"...it's time to do something i had vaguely thought about almost a year ago. Over the past week or so, the image is back and it's stronger than ever." i had privately shared with Othello and also one of my slave brothers, slave robert, what i was feeling called to do.
Late in October i told my Master about the dreams i had been having. i wrote in my livejournal,
"i was sitting across from my Master and, as W/we were finishing up dinner, i shared with Him that i had been having dreams about doing a hook body suspension and that i had been feeling a strong urge to do this soon.
Master was about to take another bite of food and abruptly stopped. He asked my slave brother kirk to share what Master had told him last week. slave kirk explained that during the prior week Master had been having waking dreams about doing a body hook suspension, yet He had not been sure who He would be suspending.
my Master asked me what position i had seen myself suspended in. i replied that i had seen myself hanging horizontal, facing downward, with the hooks along my backside. Master smiled. Apparently, when He first told slave kirk about doing a hook suspension, slave kirk thought it should be done with the person suspended in a vertical standing position. Master had disagreed, saying that His vision was of the person hanging horizontal, face down."
The affirmation that both my Master and i had the same vision/dream left no doubt that W/we were to do this. i wasn't all that thrilled with the idea of doing a hook suspension but i knew in my heart that i had to do this. This suspension was not a want: it was simply what i knew i must be open to doing.
It was decided that W/we would do the hook suspension during an advanced Academy weekend, which was scheduled to take place at my Master's home in Tucson in just a couple of weeks. Part of me had felt uneasy about doing the suspension during an Academy weekend: it made me feel a bit anxious to be the focus of this experience. i let that feeling go because i knew, no matter what, i had to be open to this experience.
Back in Southern California, i set about procuring the suspension hooks and piercing needles that would be needed.
As part of my preparations, during the week before the suspension, i started to fast on Tuesday evening and continued it until after the suspension took place late Sunday afternoon. It felt right to have this physical cleansing process.
In mid-November i arrived in Tucson on a Friday afternoon. Throughout the weekend, there would be times when attendees would offer up 3 words to describe how they were feeling in the moment. All weekend my words included blank and void yet it wasn't a negative thing: i was simply in a state of feeling much like a blank slate - tabula rasa - a void readying to be filled with something new.
In another funny twist of humor from the Universe, i started to menstruate Saturday evening. i had thought i was just having odd hunger pangs from the fasting and laughed at myself when i discovered they were really menstrual cramps! my Master jokingly commented that it seemed the Universe wanted to make sure i bled enough for this experience. It seemed perfect to me: as if the Universe was making sure i was open and emptying myself in all ways of body and mind for what i was about to undergo.
Sunday afternoon W/we began to prepare the area and ourselves for the suspension experience. my slave brother randy had put together a suspension beam attached to a chain hoist that we would use to loop the rope up to and through eyebolts. A number of others in attendance participated by having bells sewn to their chest to take part in somewhat of a ball dance to share in the energy of what was about to happen.
While the others were getting their bells, i sat down next to my Master to center myself and focus on opening up to the journey i was about to embark on. He led me to another area of the room to lay down next to Him for a short time. It was a peaceful to share those moments with Him even as the noise of talking and primal sounds elicited from some of the folks being pierced grew and mixed with the sounds of drums, shakers and bells.
Eventually my Master got up and left me with instructions to meditate and center myself in preparation for what was to come. Even in the swirl of noise i felt strangely peaceful and found stillness within myself. my slave brother robert came over to hold space with me and offer his energy to help ensure i was centered. He asked me if i wanted to step outside for a little while to remove myself from all the commotion so that i could focus. i smiled and said i had already found quiet within me.
my Master decided that we would not do a full body hook suspension, but rather, use hooks along my back and use ropes for suspending the lower half of me as well as for supporting my head. This decision was fine with me: even having hooks only suspend part of my body was still a bit daunting to me. i had particularly dreaded the thought of anything piercing the back of my calves, so i was absolutely content to forgo that aspect! More so, the partial hook suspension still held the intent and spirit of the experience i knew i was to undergo. i was open to whatever the Universe was going to offer up.
When it was time, i was directed to sit straddling a folding chair, facing toward the chair back. Sitting like this provided easier access to my back and enabled whoever was piercing to get a hold of a fold of skin. i breathed in and out as the first 8 gauge piercing needle entered my flesh and soon exited, followed by a hook being slid into position. The thickness of the needles was a bit intense yet i found myself calm through this process and almost completely quiet. The intensity of what i felt quickly flowed outward through the palms of my hands. i find that i use my hands a lot in processing intense sensations. i rarely have someone hold my hands during such experiences because i usually want to feel the energy and momentum of the sensations run through me and move out through my open hands. If someone is holding my hands, it often feels like it is blocking the flow of that energy and momentum. Still, my slave brother kirk came to sit in front of me, to offer support as i moved this energy, this force of sensations, through me.
Eight hooks were lined up: four down each side of my back. Twice they had to re-pierce and position new hooks. That was okay with me: i found myself calm through this process. At times i felt the blood dribble down my back and the tap of gauze pads gently blotting the excess away. i can not aptly explain how it sometimes feels for me to sense blood flowing forth from me during such intense situations: breathtaking... humbling... graced.
Throughout the experience there were moments of questions, concerns and varying approaches were voiced from those surrounding me. In some ways i was a guinea pug for this to take place in regards to the setting and circumstances that it was occurring. There was such a wonderfully tremendous mix of knowledge and expertise in the realms of piercing, suspension, physiology, anatomy, and medical information that i didn't worry about the discussions of various approaches. Even more than the mix of expertise present, i knew in my heart and mind this experience was what i needed to be opening myself to. Someone later said that they did not know how i remained calm as such discussions took place. i smiled and responded that it felt like perfect chaos and everything was as it should be.
In a very human moment, once all the hooks were in place and they had me lay face down on the table, i realized that no hooks could deter my bladder from taking priority. So, off to the restroom i went for one last visit before getting 'hooked up'. i could have left this part out, but i thought it was a bit funny that even in our most serious moments, nature calls and who are we not to answer? The last thing i wanted to happen is to finally be suspended only to be thinking about how badly i had to go! Suspension is not exactly a thing you want to be rushed down from!
Once i was back on the table, the process of creating rope suspension for the lower half of my body, and the flow of rope through the hooks on my upper half of body, took a bit of time. Eventually a comfortable sling was made for my forehead as well.
As i lay there, my back was feeling quite sensitive whenever the freshly-pierced hooks were touched or slightly moved. That sensitivity level greatly increased when the first slight amount of pull on the hook ropes began to lift the skin. At some point my slave brother robert came to stand in front of me and ground me through this part of the process. i could sense my Master's presence nearby.
Once all was in place, the first actual lift came when all my weight was felt on the hooks and suspension. Thankfully, i don't have the type of voice that would emit high-pitched screeching. Yet i did yell. i yelled and cried and made guttural sounds that were loud, pained and mournful, and seemed to consume the entire place.
Now, anyone who has seen me play knows my reaction in play is usually to giggle. There might be a few tears and perhaps some yelps and even a yell once in a great while, yet the majority of my reaction in play is giggling. In my view, the hook suspension was certainly not play. Yet even in my prior intense experiences that were not play, such as kavadi, i generally have found myself smiling through them or finding a sense of calm.
During the first fleeting moments of the initial hook suspension lift there was no giggling, no smile, no reaction similar to my prior experiences. The one time my reaction has come close to this was when my slave brother robert took me through an experience of clothespins back in July 2004. He had placed 140 clothespins over a net hammock and then yanked the netting off my body in two yanks: one for the back side and one for the front. The reaction of that experience was the closest thing i had ever had to what was coming out of me now.
i know that the force of emotion that was coming up in me during the initial lift was really hard for some people to witness. Some folks left. Yet, it was in those first few moments of absolute excruciating pain and fear that i felt freedom to let go and absolute permission to allow any and every possible gut emotion to let loose from my core... from my spirit. i felt sorrow, mournfulness, confusion, pain, hurt, anger, determination, vulnerability and openness. i had to allow it all to come out. During this time i did hold onto my slave brother robert's hands. He and i have a way of connecting sometimes, that doesn't seem to be at a conscious level yet it provides a sense of grounding for us.
Much of the stuff coming up had nothing to do with the suspension or even the physical feel of the hooks, but rather it was the 'shit' that balls up inside of us and only comes out when we are forced to face it. Facing experiences that bring us to react at a gut, primal, survival level can force you to face the icky stuff that is in us all at one point or another: the rage, anger, resentment, hurt, frustration... all the negative stuff that we logically know shouldn't be there and we stuff it away inside when we don't know how else to deal with it. i've gotten pretty good at facing my stuff on a conscious level, yet somehow i must have known i had some un-faced stuff to deal with. i think my Master is the only person aside from me who could have possibly known or understood the extent to which my reaction had little to do with the actual pain of the hooks.
Don't get me wrong: the sensation of my skin being initially pulled up while the weight of gravity pulled at my body hurt like hell! But the extent of my reaction in those moments was only initiated by the sensation and fear that led me to open up to everything i was feeling and stuffing away inside of me. The reaction was neither good nor bad: it simply was what it was. i was grateful to those who held space and allowed me that time of emotional outpour without simply calling the whole thing off. Later, Master Skip acknowledged that the only thing that kept Him from 'freaking out' during my time of yelling and crying was that, at no time, did i ever tell T/them to stop it or to take me down. i had to process and they allowed me to do it.
They did lower me back to the table so they could readjust the pull of some of the ropes at certain points. my breathing was a bit ragged at times. i asked that they take it slow and allow me a bit of time for my body to adjust as they did the lifting i heard my Master close to my ear telling me that we would try it one more time and, if it didn't work, that would be it and it would be okay. i nodded in agreement. i knew that, no matter if i was suspended or not, the important thing was to stay open and willing to whatever the Universe offered up.
A slight lift sent a new tinge of sensation through my back, yet my skin felt more adjusted to it this time. There was no more fear. It started to feel completely different. i was lifted a little more. Then, a little more. There was no more yelling, no more crying. Perhaps a sigh or some other soft noises... i don't recall. i could feel myself being lifted to the point of barely grazing the surface of the table. i suddenly wanted to be raised higher and really wanted that table gone from under me. i wanted to feel myself being lifted. i felt the table moved out from under me and i felt a smile within myself. i gasped a bit and they suspended my hands up to help with the distribution of weight.
There was an inner nod of acknowledgement: that i had to have gone through those crucial moments of utter pain and outpour. i had to let go of the burden in order to fly. i whispered to slave robert a few times, "Push me". Then i felt it: a soft sway as he and someone else gently pushed the wood beam i was suspended to back and forth and turned it in circles. The drums, singing and other music continued for sometime around me as i was moved gently. i was flying in that moment: no more pain: simply movement through air and very different physical sensations along the skin of my back as it held up the weight of part of my body. Then, i giggled. i giggled and found myself needing to 'feel' the hooks in me, so i wiggled my body sideways. i giggled more.
With the way my hands had been suspended and my wiggling, it would almost take on a puppy-like energy for some looking at it. Yet it really was more like a hatchling coming out of the shell, struggling to break through and finally making that first flight. i had been feeling my wings.
When they began to lower me to the ground, i was feeling like i could have stayed up there for so much longer. Still, there was no sense of disappointment in me: i simply felt like whenever i was brought down, it was meant to be time. A slight shudder ran through me as my body finally reached the mattress placed below me and the last of the tension removed from the hooks. It was odd to feel my skin come back into place. The hooks seemed to easily slide out. i laid there face down with my hands holding onto someone else's hands in front of me as someone cleaned my back off. i rested there for several moments as i tried to warm my hands up.
How do you explain a flight of spirit? How do you adequately convey to others the urge to push and break through fear and pain to find... self... others... nothing... everything... stillness? It is as simple as it is complex. Everything is as different as it is the same.
After a quick shower, i went to my Master and W/we hugged. He acknowledged that there were moments of doubt whether i would actually end up suspended. i acknowledged that i was ready to accept that possibility among all other possibilities and that i had been all right with whatever was to happen. It really was all about being open and willing to let go.
One does not fly unless they are willing to risk letting go of the ground.
Below are thumbnail photos taken of this touching journey. Click on any thumbnail photo to enlarge.