The women in the village were only available at 9 p.m. for TRE class. They get up 5:30, make fire, and boil hot water for the first tea for the family. Then they cook, wash, look after animals, make preserved food, thresh barley and millet and powder it for winter.… endless work. They carry a mountain of grains in baskets on their back and on pack animals. They have such a basic life but in order to keep this life, there is so much to do every day especially now preparing for the winter.
At 9 p.m., the place was pitch dark and freezing cold. While the temperature was nice and warm during the day, as soon as the sun set the temperature dropped to around 5°C (40 °F). However, 9 women came to the campsite and tried the exercise every night for 3 days.
In the first day, the men were also curiously hanging around and tried to teach the women what they learnt in the morning class. But as long as the men were around, the women were too shy to start. I sent all the men back home except for my translator. I dimmed the light and started the exercise.
At the end of the first class, unlike men, many women did not shake very well and complained that they had headaches. I asked, “Did you try to hold the shaking?” They said “Yeah…..” “Well, that might be it then…” I explained why it is important to let go of their control and allow natural tremors to come out. At nearly 10 p.m., despite a full day of hard work, the women were so keen to listen and exchange their experiences and feelings. They said it was the first time to share their feelings since the earthquake. They very much enjoyed “the women only” gathering in the dark.
At the second night, many of them were shaking much better than the first day. I softly touched their legs and tried to feel their tremors (the light was too weak to see their tremors). In the dusky light, all women were focusing on their breathing. Some of them had deep slow breath and some gave soft groans. I was sitting at their feet and suddenly was caught by the feeling as if I was assisting them in giving birth. It was a strange but magical moment to be in when the women were totally into feeling their own bodies.
In the final day, one woman told me;
“After the first TRE, I felt sad. I realized that I did not have any feelings for a long time. I have been numbed.
After the second TRE, I felt happy.
My kids are all grown up and living in Kathmandu. I wanted them to come back to the village but they do not come back. I was feeling very lonely. But now (after the third session) I feel I can let go of them. I continue to live in my house and live with my animals. Now I feel freedom.”
In the last day, the women were asking many questions and did not want to let me go. When I finally wrapped up the class, they said, “sorry for keeping you to stay until late at night. But we really enjoyed gathering and chatting away!”
I realized that during the day, they never have time for themselves. They care for their husbands, children and animals. This exercise gave them a legitimate reason to stay away from home for a couple of hours and do something for their own wellbeing.
We heard some babies start crying from several houses. It was time for them to go home. ‘They are like Cinderella’ I thought. But I guessed they do not know what Cinderella was….
Keep shaking together, ladies!