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April 9, 2021

How our Bodies Remember Trauma.

This past February and March were filled with lots of one-year anniversaries of some of the most difficult times of my whole life.

Getting out of a real sh*t relationship; a suicide attempt; checking into a treatment center; a year of no drinking; my birthday; and lots of dark and somewhat embarrassing moments in between.

This time last year was some kinda heavy, and I had hopes of doing some celebrating this time around because, well, I’m really proud of myself for how far I’ve come, and I wanted to honor that in a way that was meaningful to me.

I wanted to go on a solo hike up a big, old mountain around eight hours away. I wanted to roll around in the grass and the sunshine and put my feet in the mud. I wanted to have a little letting go ceremony and burn a bunch of sage.

But it turns out that this past February and March ended up being some of the hardest darn days I’ve had in the whole past year.

It was rough—like next level rough.

And the interesting thing was that it wasn’t like I was reliving detailed memories from what happened a year ago or having flashbacks from that sh*t relationship. It wasn’t like I was stuck in some depressive or anxious spiral that led me down some hopeless-feeling dark hole.

It was something that was felt almost entirely on a physical level.

My entire body was in such an incredible amount of pain like I had never experienced before. I had this crazy, heavy, throbbing, aching, stabbing, booming, force-like feeling radiating through my whole self. I felt empty. And lifeless. And sad. But again, not in a cognitive or depressive way. It was a different kind of sad. Like a really pity, almost grieving, kind of sad.

And as I was sitting at my favorite coffee shop on my third matcha trying to write out all of the beautiful words that reflected how far I’ve come, bitching in my head about how mad I was over the fact that I didn’t have the energy to drive eight hours to hike, and dwelling and dwelling over why I felt like such sh*t on what was supposed to be my really special day, I finally decided to stop trying to force what wasn’t working. So I drove home, ate three stale cupcakes, and plopped down on my yoga mat on my balcony floor.

And when I plopped, I took a breath, and I gave myself some grace. I gave myself some compassion. And I gave myself some love.

I stopped agonizing over what was happening and stopped wondering what was wrong with me and stopped creating these ding-dong stories in my head about how, maybe, I really wasn’t doing great after all. I just accepted what I was experiencing. I let myself exist. I let myself be. Just the way that I was.

And it wasn’t until I fully surrendered to the experience that I was able to find some clarity and some peace. It wasn’t until I stopped creating these stories and having these judgments that I remembered what I had been learning this entire year.

Our bodies remember absolutely everything. Every. Single. Thing.

Every single thing we have ever experienced in our entire lives is in our bodies on a cellular level.

That brush of wind that crossed your face when you were four? Even that is literally in your cellular memory.

And even when we don’t remember something on a cognitive level, our body does.

And my body remembered exactly what was happening during this time last year. My body remembered the hurt and the fear and the sadness and the pain. F*ck, there was so much. So much f*cking pain. And this reaction I had didn’t mean something was wrong with me. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I was doing. It just meant I still had some things to process. And it was a totally normal response to some really heavy trauma.

And in order to heal trauma, we must learn how to safely come back into our bodies by experiencing them as a safe container for our feelings.

By tuning in to the physical sensations that come up and looking at them in a curious, nonjudgmental, and loving way.

By not getting caught up in the stories and the whys and getting out of our head and really feeling the emotions and sensations that show up with love and compassion.

And when we allow the sensations and feelings to just move through us and be seen and felt and acknowledged, we can also move through these unpleasant experiences more quickly. We can heal. We can learn and love and live in ways that we never thought possible.

There is so much beauty and possibility, no matter how bad things might feel or how low you might be. There is so much incredible hope.

Healing isn’t linear; it isn’t perfect; it can’t be planned. There is no right or wrong. And it all belongs.

Surrender, lean in, get curious.

Let yourself be, just as you are.

Shift your mindset from perfection and expectations to acceptance for what is.

You are perfectly made, and you are right where you need to be.

~

 

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