Do you desire a more present and enjoyable life?
What about the ability to live for each moment and not feel so numb?
I have mentioned to you that I am training for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy currently and will continue to do so throughout the next few months. This therapy is AMAZING and is blowing my mind with how well it works. When we are willing to connect and be open without judgement to what our body needs to communicate, it is able to release in the way that it needs to. We tend to get stuck thinking about how we feel and therefore neglect our body. Often, when you ask someone what they are feeling, they give you a thought. We are a very cognitive society, however, this doesn't give our body the space and acknowledgement it deserves. It has it's own experience with whatever trauma or stress you endured.
When we give our bodies permission to FEEL, we allow for any energy that is pent up to be released, whether that be through movement, emotion, or simply through mindfulness (being present with our body in the moment without judgment). Often times, it can be uncomfortable to allow ourselves to connect with our bodies. Maybe you feel sensations that you would rather ignore, maybe you have pain, or maybe emotions arise that are too overwhelming.
Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary after trauma or stress. Trauma is meant to be released, not held in and suppressed within our bodies. Emotions and sensations are there, whether we want to acknowledge them or not.
If you are a current client, you have maybe heard me tell the story of how a Gazelle handles trauma. When a Gazelle is being chased by it's predator, it is in flight (fight, flight, or freeze). To survive, it's frontal cortex (reasoning part of the brain) has to shut off and it has to flee as fast as it can to survive! While this fleeing is taking place, it's nervous system is pumping cortisol (stress hormone), and adrenaline through it's body. It's heart is racing and the body is working in full force. When the Gazelle is able to escape it's predator, it's body goes into repair mode by shivering it's entire body to "shake off" the trauma that it just experienced. It's life was in danger and it survived. But just because it survived does not mean that the trauma does not still exist within the body.
The same is true for a Dog. Have you ever sat with a dog shaking through a thunderstorm? Their way of dealing with stress and anxiety is by "shaking it off".
These responses for both the Gazelle and the Dog are instinctual. They don't think about the fact that they need to shake, but rather their body takes care of it for them by doing what it needs to do to get back to a place of calm.
We as humans love to suppress any effects that we have from traumatic experiences, because it is too uncomfortable to allow ourselves to feel what comes after this kind of experience. Some common things that people face after a traumatic experience are: anxiety attacks, they feel like they could crawl out of their skin, they are hyper aware of their surroundings, and they have difficulty falling asleep. Their body is ON, full force, all of the time. This state is EXHAUSTING, it gets old, and it doesn't allow for the person to live their normal life. This is frustrating and people want the quickest possible way to get it to stop, so they can feel normal again. Suppressing these emotions and not acknowledging what our body just experienced does nothing, but trap the trauma. The trauma gets stuck and doesn't have the ability to move, until we give it the opportunity to do so.
So, what can we learn from these other creatures? Well, that we may need to give ourselves time, space, and the ability to check in with our bodies and acknowledge how they have faced trauma or stress. Once we have given ourselves the time and space to do so, we can allow for any releasing that needs to happen whether it be through movement, releasing of emotion, or simply acknowledging sensations that may feel stuck.
Therapy is tough, especially when confronting emotions and sensations that we would rather ignore. But the freedom that comes from allowing our body to not be held captive anymore, is refreshing. It allows you to live again. The more we are able to be mindful, the more we can check into the moment and enjoy our experiences to the fullest extent.
Are you feeling stuck? Do you find yourself in thought and unwilling to get connected with your body? Are you ready to break free and allow yourself permission to not feel trapped anymore?
Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn