We figure it out in our heads long before we feel comfortable with the energy in our body. We are adults now and have the capacity to understand the sequence of events from childhood through to present day. We know in our conscious mind that we are no longer in danger. We are no longer adrift, disconnected, helpless or powerless. We open to the possibility that what happened when we were children was not our fault.
So why are our shoulders still up around our ears? Why do we still unconsciously hold our breath? We may sense we are somewhat shut down creatively, sexually, and emotionally. We are not fully connected, we feel half alive, and we know there is more juiciness to life than we are experiencing.
Our Sunday classes explore the obstacles to relaxing into authenticity. In the past year, we covered a lot of ground from intergenerational trauma to building resilience, from Developmental trauma to the negativity bias of the primitive brain, and from working with our inner critic to opening into a friendly, unconditional loving relationship with ourselves.
Wanting to become more embodied in daily life is a way of acknowledging we could be more present. So often our attention drifts away into the past or future. This is driven by habits from childhood and from the primitive brain and our survival system of fight/ flight/ freeze. There are so many ways to work with this. Here is one guided practice Recalibrate.
Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness
Does mindfulness mean you stay with your thoughts no matter what? Not necessarily! There is a common misconception about mindfulness and meditation. When the mind is disturbed, as it is by trauma, we need a different approach when our primitive brain is reactive and we are still healing our nervous system.
Catastrophic thoughts are a perfect example. A worse case scenario comes to mind warning us of some future danger. Our nervous system reacts AS IF the thought is true. We hold our breath. Our shoulders tighten up or we clench our teeth. This sets off a cycle of more catastrophic thoughts as we try to work out in our mind how to respond to other potential threats.
This is actually counter productive. We scare ourselves by worrying about things that are actually not happening now and may never happen. We think worrying will help us handle it in the future if it does occur but actually we’re just exhausting our nervous system through a constant state of alarm and anxiety.
The mindfulness practice of witnessing gets derailed by the alarm in the nervous system and cascade of catastrophic thoughts. Skillful practice here is to not entertain those thoughts. The moment you notice your breath, contraction in your body or worse case thoughts, stop. Acknowledge what is happening. Disrupt the cycle. You can do that by coming back to your breath, getting up and moving around or any of the Emergency Practices here. When we limit the attention we give to catastrophic thoughts, we find we notice and interrupt the process sooner and they lose steam. This is an unhelpful habit of the mind that is a trauma response. We can heal this.
Watch the recording of Sunday’s Trauma Informed Mindfulness class here.
Embodied Healing in Daily Life class begins Sunday March 17th
Join me live for 8 weeks of bringing your healing alive in daily life. We’ll look at how our primitive brain shuts us down in the guise of protecting us, why and how to stop suppressing fear and emotions from childhood, releasing deficiency beliefs and shame, and resolving the deep loneliness and separation that plague so many people. In this group, people have the empowering experience of saying their truth and being heard and understood. No one here will tell you “You’re too sensitive!” Details and registration here.