David Robert Jones, MS LPC

Full Circle (59)

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Several months ago, I received an email asking if I would consider being the presenter at a local brain injury support group. I called the number listed on the email to chat over the details and, while on the phone, realized that I was speaking to one of the people who helped manage my care when I was a patient at the concussion clinic eight years ago. 


And if that were not surreal enough, I discovered that I would be presenting in the same building where I experienced some of my first waves of hope in my post-traumatic brain injury journey — the building where I met my occupational therapist, Barb, who taught me iRest and set me up for a healing journey that now affects every day of my life.

Another wow. I hadn’t been back to that building for many years and when I stopped going there, little did I know that I would still have so many years of challenges to face.

As the date neared for my presentation, I spent time remembering what those many years were like, feeling gratitude for the people who supported me and stood next to me, thankful for the practices that my teachers introduced me to and guided me in, and marveling at the arc of the overall journey from the perspective of today.

My  goals for the presentation were pretty simple: 
* to help people feel seen, heard, and known; 
* to introduce them to resources to help strengthen their minds, bodies, spirits; 
* to experientially share a couple of techniques and practices that could help connect them to a sense of well-being and alleviate some suffering;
* and to close our time by facilitating an experience of deep rest, relaxation, and restoration.

As I got out of my vehicle and walked toward the building on the night of the presentation, I paused and thought back to what life was like when I used to come in and out of these doors. 

I definitely felt a wave of emotion roll over me as I stepped into the building and I also felt a sense of abiding joy, love, and peace.

“Here I am,” I said to myself. “I am so glad that I am here.”

The audience included both caregivers and those recovering from brain injuries that ranged from TBIs to strokes.

Many of them are facing the biggest challenge of their lives, whether they are recovering from the injury or taking care of someone who is. 

To a person, they are all still saying “Yes” to life even when it is not at all the life they were expecting. 

Some of them are many years removed from their injury and are still recovering. Others’ injuries have been much more recent. 

Something that they — I should say “we” — have in common is that we are showing up to life.

There were many heartfelt moments of feeling mutually seen, heard, and known — of feeling together in the journey.

As we concluded our time together, one person said, “I just feel so relaxed.” Another shared that they had felt nothing but anxiety and constriction for many months. With tears in their eyes and a smile on their face, they described feeling relief, openness, spaciousness, and even a sense of okay-ness for the first time since the injury.

I also took a handpan and shared some music with them. Some of the attendees had similar responses to my first time hearing the pan, welling up with emotion and tears as they felt the harmonizing, unifying and grounding affects of an instrument that is emitting a perfect cocktail of frequencies that calm the brain (i.e,. the fundamental, the octave, and the perfect fifth). Simply touching one note on the handpan sends these frequencies outward and invites a soothing, relaxing, harmonizing response at the unconscious level of the organism. As listeners (and players) our brains and nervous systems respond to the the effects of this harmonization by becoming more regulated and synchronous. 

This is at least some of the “why” that explains the moment I first heard a handpan. I felt a wave of being known, of joy, of okay-ness, of clarity, of peace. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my life - a calming, healing balm to deep places that nothing else had seemed able to access. 

And there I was, getting to gently and slowly share these sacred and healing sounds and practices with fellow sojourners. 

Getting to share a practice, a way of being, a story, and an instrument that I knew nothing about the first time I set foot in that building. 

What a journey.

Full circle. 

Ready to take the next step?

I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via social media or at [email protected].