Mindbody insights into healing can be used to shame us. People don’t generally say that there is something wrong with us if we don’t heal ourselves, yet it is a common interpretation and experience. There is complexity and nuance in our relationship with our body. Our thoughts do affect our health and wealth. How can we work with this in an atmosphere of kindness and self-compassion, and without turning this into one more stick to belittle ourselves?
“Insight (into ourselves and the workings of our minds and bodies), when inspired by the quest for truth, can promote transformation. I hope When the Body Says No will help people align with the inner wisdom we all possess.” Dr Gabor Maté
Dr Gabor’s book highlights the impact of and the relationship between stress and illness in our bodies. Auto-immune diseases are when our own immune system attacks our body. Medical research like that of Dr Stephen Porges shows how this works.
Louise Hay in the 80’s became widely known for her intuitions about emotion and the body. I worked in an AIDS organization then and many of us did her Love My Body guided practices. It is helpful to visualize our body in healing light, yet I know what that meant for friends with AIDS who “failed” to heal themselves and died.
The lifelong effect of Adverse Childhood Experience (ACES) recently came more into public awareness with the popular Ted talk by pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris. She recently became the first Surgeon General of California and is implementing ACES screening for children.
With education and initiatives like this, people begin to understand anger or being shut down as common trauma responses. Knowing this helps us to let go of the shame. When threat and fear are predominant childhood experiences, our survival mechanisms of fight/ flight/ freeze/ fawn come in to protect us. It is not a failure on our part. It is how our system is designed.
The body is an energy field. It is more solid, a lower frequency than the energy field of the mind, and it takes longer to change than a thought in the mind. My meditation teacher taught that a warp in the mind field will eventually become a warp in the energy field of the body, showing up as disease or illness. This does not mean we are defective for having warps in our mind field like negative or compulsive thinking which are common trauma responses. It does not mean we should be able to cure ourselves and we have failed if we don’t. It simply means the mindbody is one holistic system and we can work with it in this way.
We are drawn to miracles and teachers. Marianne Williamson and manifesting abundance. The movie The Secret. Healing in the quantum field with Joe Dispensa. The problem is not necessarily the intention of the teacher or the teachings. It is how they might be used to shame people who don’t get the miracle cure. People who do the practices and don’t get the bliss or the best selling novel or the love of their life.
There is a serious impact of adverse childhood experiences, shame, bullying, dissociating to get through the moment and day, sexual violence and trauma, not knowing if your partner is safe for you today, and of blaming yourself for everything that is wrong with your life.
Nelson Mandela freed himself while he was physically in prison. Viktor Frankl found meaning while in a death camp during the Holocaust. We can be inspired by people further along in their healing journey and to know this is possible for human beings without berating ourselves.
Whether we have Big T Trauma or ordinary trauma, we need kindness and compassion more than anything else. We need to open up enough space to allow connection to and with ourselves. We grieve our losses and feel the emotions that it wasn’t safe to feel.
“Sometimes this learning can and will be challenging. It’s not pleasant or easy to feel long-suppressed pain or deal with present or anticipated threats. But it turns out to be such a relief to finally face our losses and fears and to free ourselves from past suffering and present fear.” The Transformation, Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma, James S Gordon, MD, Center for Mind-Body Medicine.