How old were you when you began to feel like an adult? I was about fifty, and I find that sense of being a grown up is still deepening. I feel more ease. I belong in my life and it belongs to me. I get to stop working so hard at life and start enjoying it more. I made some bold moves in my late fifties and ten years later, I now have a life that suits me. I live in alignment with my values, I have fulfilling work, and I spend time with people I love. Did I mention the beach? I always loved the ocean and yet somehow it never occurred to me to move to be near one!
For people who have trauma (spoiler alert – that’s all of us!), it takes time and significant effort to heal enough to come up out of freeze, to calm our fight/ flight responses, and begin to live in a state of trust and connect. It happens gradually for most of us. Our primitive brain and nervous system are not known for their fast pivots. We evolved over millions of years to survive physical threats like tigers. Our system is not well suited to modern life.
Earlier in our life we had experiences that developed a hypervigilant nervous system. We need a substantial number of safer experiences to convince our unconscious mindbody that we can relax now and enjoy ourselves. Most of us try to control the environment around us and it’s a good beginning strategy. We get our body to a place of physical safety. We begin to set boundaries for how people can treat us. We leave toxic relationships.
At some point we turn inside and begin to see through our core deficiency beliefs that we are unlovable or fundamentally unworthy. We work on healing our nervous system through breathing, relaxation and education. We let go of shaming ourselves for our trauma responses. We widen our window of tolerance and become more open to healing experiences. We find “our people”.
It is relatively simple to understand how trauma works and how to heal. Having a supportive community who can relate to us helps. Having a place to take a deep breath and share our authentic truth also helps.
Three ways this October to explore and build resilience and ease: