The Knot • How Somatic Symptoms Points to Self-Betrayal

I once had a knot in my back, right between my shoulder blades. It felt like a hungry tumour lodged on my upper spine, with gnarly tentacles busting out of T4 and T5 and curling around my heart, as if to vampire suck its life force. Not dramatic at all.

It felt like a wedgy, but on your face, from undies from a boys locker room, combined with a needle under your pinky nail, combined with Jewish-Italian shouting match voices in my head.

Prior, I had already established and mastered a wellness ritual each month:
    •    Week 1: Network Spinal Analysis (holistic chiropractic care) to start the month aligned
    •    Week 2: Reiki + Deep Tissue Massage to stay soft and in flow
    •    Week 3: Acupuncture + Cupping to release tension build up
    •    Week 4: Coaching + Psychotherapy to integrate and deepen my learning

Every day started with a 15-30min meditation. Weekdays started with a 13 ingredient superfood smoothy. And I made sure to go to Antigravity Yoga once a week. I also went for walks by the beach (2 blocks from my home) and meals with close friends once a week (twice if I felt particularly extroverted that week).

Somatic Pain Leaves Clues

Even so, I couldn't untie the knot. This had never happened before... Thanks to my massive cumulative toolbox of holistic wellness tools and team members, I have always been able to dissolve pain and heal issues at their root.

Months went by. Booking longer or more frequent sessions with my wellness team wasn't the answer. Every session did alleviate my pain just enough to get one good night’s sleep that week.

Months and months passed. I tried more / higher quality anti-oxidants to reduce inflammation, more / higher quality rest and stretching, and more / deeper books on somatic healing. I even added a naturopath to my team. Nope.

The knot always came back, full force, gripping my spine and back of my heart fiercely for dear life. 

Half a year had passed. I was crying my torment on the phone to soul-sister M. She let me cry. She let me speak my agony out loud. She let me be. Then a few days later, she texted me, "I saw this chart on somatic symptoms. It said T4 and T5 are related to betrayal."

Boom! Of course, Peter Pan betrayed me, but because I brushed off emotional cheating as "that's not really cheating," this knot is here to wake me up! Any kind of cheating is cheating. Period. Huzzah! I/we figured it out. I waltzed to my bedroom, feel backward like a feather and went to sleep, ecstatic that I'd wake up knot free.

Nope. The wedgy was still in my face, the nail still under my finger, and the knot still loudly jammed like a shard of glass between my shoulder blades, into my heart. I was just about ready to excise it with a steak knife, using my bare hands.

Lightning Strikes Water

I knew from my "frozen wrists" experience that is outside Western medicine's scope. I refused to take any painkillers to numb out the lesson that I was meant to learn. (What can I say, filial piety + childhood traumas + being a women = cosmically high threshold for pain.)

Oddly, the only thing that brought me comfort was ruminating over, "I must have been a white, male, baby-killing, women-rapping colonialist in a past life... There must be karma at play..." Hey, whatever works, right? 😜

When past the 10 month marker, I decided, "Fuck it! I'm just gonna live with it." I mean, people live and thrive with missing limbs, brain tumours and incurable illnesses, all the time. So I booked a flight to a 5-day women's empowerment and business summit. By day 4, my roomie A and I reached a point of exhaustion that we decided to skip the rest of the conference.

We spent the afternoon in the pool. And as I glided in the blue like a mermaid restored to sea, I forgot the knot for the first time in 10 searing months. In next nano-second of that realization, lightning struck water, "It's not him. It's me. Peter Pan didn't betray me. I betrayed... myself. I sold myself faaaaaar too short." 😱 🤯

The entire infinity pool lit up in a light golden hue, as if I had tinted the pool with the octopus ink of my awakening. 

The next morning, the knot was gone. All of it. Just. Like. That. (Well, plus the monthly wellness ritual, plus the $100/10/98.)


Spiritual Awakening is Inconvenient

When I got back from the conference a week later, curious about other body-heart interconnections, I asked soulsister M where she read about the T4/T5 vertebras and betrayal correlation.

She looked through her entire browsing history. On all her devices. She retraced her every step. We googled the entirety of the World Wide Web. That chart or article just vanished into thin air... What where the chances?!?

So. What have we learned here, boys and girls? I learned that awakening takes... as long as it takes. It's gradual and cumulative. There are things we can do to soften the blow. And there are things we can do to exacerbate the pain. The rest is out of our control.

I learned that betrayal is a rite of passage. No human survives Earth School without having experienced betrayal. It's part of the package of being human.

He betrayed me. And we let him. In the ripping and rupture of betrayal, this is the last thing we want to hear.

She betrayed me. And we know, on some level, we let her. We played a role in it too. We betrayed ourselves first, even if completely unconsciously or innocently. That inner self-betrayal then attracts external dynamics of betrayal(s) until we awaken to the source wound of self-hatred and self-betrayal.

Is it wretchedly painful? For sure. Is it fair? No. Is it how the evolution of human consciousness works? Yes.

Live fierce and free,

xo, Ella



Having navigated 131 countries, 87 emotions, 46.5 traumas, and 16 careers, Ellany Lea inspires and guides phoenixes, overachievers, entrepreneurs and wayshowers to live fierce, fulfilled and free.