How Pam Cordano Changed My Life and Taught me to Pull in Money (and Everything Else Good and Sweet)
This weekend Pam Cordano changed my life. Again. We were driving home from getting some supplies for our adoptee retreat and we were talking about blocks. I had come to California from Boston with the feeling that I would not go home the same person, in large part because this happens every time I have co-facilitated one of these retreats and have shared space with adopted people determined to see and engage in their best selves and lives, and in other large part because this happens pretty much any time I spend even an hour with Pam.
I asked about money, about why part of me just doesn’t seem to want it, why I like to push money away. We talked a little and then we went back to her house and she took off her shoes and asked me to push her across the kitchen floor. She asked me to look her in the eyes, and so I did this as we matched up palms. I pushed her so she slid on her socked feet from one end of the kitchen to the other. I felt strong. I felt like I could have pushed her up a mountain. I could have pushed her all the way from Davis to Boston. I looked into her eyes like I was a lion. I felt like King of the World. I couldn’t wait to hear her tell me how great I was, how powerful, how directed.
Then she asked me to pull her across the floor. This was a different experience. It felt like I was in molasses and she was a recalcitrant child. I looked her in the eye, but this time I laughed. I laughed because it was so hard to pull her, and I was waiting for her to say, “Stop! See how much better it is to push?” but she was just looking me in the eye so I kept pulling even though my stomach was getting sick and I felt like throwing up. The lion thing wasn’t happening. I looked at her as though I’d been underwater too long and was waiting for permission to surface.
I quit before I was fully at the end of the room because I knew she was going to tell me how ridiculous pulling was and because I was super dizzy and needed to sit on the floor for a minute to catch my breath. I had no idea what was going on. I made fake throwing up noises.
“Your body doesn’t like the feeling of pulling things toward you,” Pam said. (Or at least I think she said this. I was dizzy and confused, so I am an unreliable narrator at this point, but I am going to keep going because I’m pretty sure I’ve got it right.) “You can push things away. That’s what your body knows,” she said.
Now my head was as confused as my stomach. Pulling was good? It was okay to pull things towards me even when it was a struggle? Even when things weren’t easily flowing along with me? This made no sense to my spinning self. I felt as if my brain was turning into something new, like I’d just had brain surgery in her kitchen.
This body/self that believed pulling was okay, was good, was part of being a whole person was coming to life just through the muscle memory of what had happened and it was a wild experience. It felt wrong. It felt as though someone had told me that in America we speak Italian. What? But what about this lifetime of English? What was that all about? How did I miss this? The world was not what I had thought. The rules were not what I thought they were.
Pulling was good.
We use different muscles to push and pull. The funny thing is, the ones we use to push: the chest, triceps, quads, calves, and shoulders are all overdeveloped and short on me, and the back muscles, a main source of power for the pull, are the ones I struggle with the most pain-wise.
I thought about how I felt when my daughter left for college. I wanted to pull her towards me, claim her even though it seemed to my most childlike self that she had left me, but pulling felt wrong, and so in subtle ways that hurt to think about, I pushed her away. You want to leave: fine. Go.
I’m not saying (exactly) that I want to pull her to me and never let her go, but there is an energetic belief I can cultivate that I am her mother and I deserve to have her in my life, that it is right for us to be connected. This may sound ridiculous to you and so obvious, and that may mean that you have a body that understands pulling more than mine does.
I can work for and pull towards me what I want. This is a completely different mindset than the singular belief that I can push away whatever doesn’t work for me. These two beliefs work so well as matched power tools: I can BOTH push and pull! It’s like suddenly having two arms instead of one, or a full brain instead of half, or a life of sweet challenge and love and healthy engagement instead of one of playing tennis with a toddler or one where you just wait for the next shoe to drop because you don’t have a true sense of empowerment.
I get to think, What do I want to pull to myself today? This week? This month? This year? This life? This makes me so happy. I’m in a perpetual Christmas Eve.
Pam saved me years and years of talk therapy by getting me in my body and addressing my core beliefs through action. My brain created my body, and my brain told my body it could not have what it wanted. But, hahahaha, I got you, brain! I jumped the hurdle of can’t and landed square in the land of This is So Awesome.
None of this would have happened if we hadn’t been at the adoptee retreat. I miss that group of wonders so much, but the magic continues, and I want to say thank you for being there.