The word “trauma” originates from the Greek word traumatica, which means wound. And that is exactly what it is – it is a wound; unseen, invisible, yet painful to touch. Even when we feel like it has healed over we can be retriggered, taking our physical body straight back to that traumatic moment of time, feeling powerless and helpless all over again.
Feeling the echoes of past trauma feels like a raw pure overwhelming full-blown stress response in the body as opposed to being more of a head-driven anxiety. When retriggered, it bypasses the thinking part of the brain, and the body re-experiences the trauma as though it is happening all over again in the here and now. It can leave us feeling dazed and confused as to why we are feeling this way, almost like we are lost in a forest with no beaten path to follow, no guidelines to find our way through and out to the other side.
It is scary but what is scary needs to be faced. It is only then that we can truly start to heal our wounds.
The power of trauma is far-reaching. Its narrows our awareness, squews our perception of events and people, and if not properly treated strangulates the natural evolutionary growth of our potential as a human being. What gets repressed becomes stress, hence the very clear correlation in research between childhood trauma and health issues in later life.
To course correct the trauma trance we need to have awareness; an understanding that overwhelming raw pure unruly uncontrollable emotions arriving out of nowhere are there for a reason.
Its like the circuitry in our human organism is shattered and fragmented. And only WE can help this circuitry to rewire in a strong and healthy way.
Remembering that trauma is an ailment based in isolation, it naturally draws us into a disconnective process due to shame and overwhelm. The antidote therefore is to connect with a professional and good support systems to help see ourselves back onto solid ground.
Engage in activities that help you to feel grounded and safe, making space for and acknowledging your feelings as they come up; letting feelings flow through you rather than fighting, resisting or ignoring them. Take exceptionally good care of your health – diet, movement, relaxation and sleep. These factors will all contribute to a strong and healthy rewiring of the affected circuitry in your body.
Our mind and body are like our guardians. They are here to protect us. When we have been heartbroken for example they take on the role of guardsmen at the gateway of our hearts, checking rigorously the intentions and motives of any future potential suitors. When we make a normal mistake in the process of learning, mind and body ensure you never do it again by drilling you on the consequences. And when we experience trauma in our life, these guardians can transport us outside of our body, relocating us to what it believes to be a safe place away from the pain, the hurt and the betrayal.
Our mind does not forget, nor does the body. It contracts when it is hurt and just when it starts to soften and unfurl, if it is reminded of a past hurt, it tightens again and withdraws, becoming numb or lashing out. This signifies the importance of processing trauma.
Your body deserves to heard, your experience deserves to be heard, you deserve to be heard.
Through the healing proces, and with the help of caring support, you will be able to safely express and unpack the heavy load carried in your heart. What seems impossibly scary and foreboding, what you regard to be your weakness, your raw spot and your shame, can transform from what feels like a prison cell to a liberation of your senses as you emerge stronger, healthier, energized and radiant, sharing your beauty and gifts with all those who wish to behold them.
We are cradled in the West by a ‘pill for the ill’ mentality. We expect that a prescription from the experts will be the cure-all remedy. For those of us dealing with ongoing health and life challenges, who have already trod the offices of dozens of practitioners and constantly searching and striving to find the magic pill, we tend to find ourselves on a treadmill of perpetual disappointment.
If this commonplace approach is failing us perhaps we are being beckoned to take a different approach?
Perhaps we are being invited to delve deeper into a more expansive mode of inquiry whereby we learn to let go, and occupy and navigate the unfamiliar territory of what we call the unconscious, the birthplace of our innate wisdom.
To orient you with this territory I invite you to drop your shoulders, slow your breath, and gently unfurl your mind, heart and spirit.
Because due to our conditioning we tend to contract, force and push to find the solutions to our problems.
When we have spent our life conditioned by culture, receiving the marching orders from our unquestioned beliefs and conditioning, could it be possible that our life issues may in fact be slowing us down to reflect, ponder, wonder, let go, explore, think possibilities, and trust what we inherently know to be true and right for us beyond the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘shouldn’ts’ of our conditioning.
Even the late great physicist and mathematician, Albert Einstein, relied heavily on what he referred to as intuition as he felt his way to new ideas and insights. He states that he never made any one of his great discoveries through the process of rational thinking but instead ‘a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why’.
This indicates a different way of approaching our challenges. It suggests that by releasing control we may in fact be preparing the turf for a creative response from our whole self: mind, heart, body and spirit.
There is enormous untapped potential that lies within each and everyone of us. Health and life issues, which we have no obvious practical solutions for, invite us to knock on the door of possibilities that lie beneath the black and white, rational thinking processes. Instead of focusing intently on a question to find the answer, what if we lived the question and became the answer, taking those small steps that we know in our heart of hearts to be the right action for us in the here and now?
When we can finally let go of what we think we should be doing, and lean into our current experience, without judgment or fight, fully embracing all of who we are in this moment, connecting with our body, our breath and our experience of life in the here and now, what is it that we feel called to do next? What 'next step' would help heal in this moment which will ultimately nourish the direction of our future?
Let your mind wander, don’t force, push, contract or narrow your perception down but instead expand, get curious, and be open to the realm of remarkable wisdom that lies within you.
Your life is calling you to become all of who you were meant to be;
our body, the messenger;
our life, the canvas;
our connections, our lifeline.
Trust your life. Your life is your medicine.
Ph. 021 027 18127
Kira Follas is a qualified counsellor and works as Wellness Practitioner and Group Facilitator in New Zealand. She is also a survivor and thriver of multiple physical and mental-emotional adversities and is a Mum to two awesome teenage lads :)