When we bury our trauma, we bury our healing.
You know what that means, don’t you? If you want to get past whatever’s preventing you from being present, you have to journey back to the source.
This feels a lot like trying to correct your posture when you’ve been sitting hunched over in a chair your whole life. Unnatural, painful and why bother?
Because there’s something more compelling than our traumas: We want to be free.
Our minds are like sponges, perpetually soaking up others’ moods, super-saturated by events that happened years ago and that we can’t wring out completely.
Until we do.
Wringing out the sponge
Last Monday during my first EMDR session, my sponge wrung itself nearly dry. It was 7:30 a.m. and I had on headphones attached to two small, oval discs in my palms. The discs vibrated in time with the low dooo, dooo tones switching from my right to left ears.
My therapist simply said to go back to my first memories of being aware of my dislike for certain sounds (to get up to speed on that story, read this). I closed my eyes, found my calm yogic breath, and began.
Like kundalini rising up the spine, the pain rose up fast from my heart. Pain I didn’t even know I had, blurted out in sobs and snot. File under: There is no glamorous way to unearth your trauma.
A flood of memories and latent desires left smudges of mascara on my face. I was falling apart and putting myself back together in what felt like 10 minutes, actually 45.
At the end of the session, I looked out the windows at the snowy Rocky Mountain range, peace and lightness present in my heart, and said, “It’s no one’s fault.”
There are many skeptics when it comes to the business of healing. The only one that matters is you.
If you’re skeptical about the route you’re taking to heal, of course it won’t work.
We think ourselves out of healing all the time. We say we can’t forgive (yet); we can’t let go; we can’t say “I’m sorry.” We can — we just don’t want to.
If you don’t want to carry around the mental script that says “I can’t” anymore, stop burying your trauma.
Today, you can free yourself with a new story. One in which it’s no one’s fault. One in which you open yourself to all possibilities for healing because, who knows?
It just might work.
You deserve that chance.
Addendum: EMDR, so far
This is my experience so far with Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). I should preface this by saying I haven’t heard much about this therapy other than word of mouth success stories and one website that tried to invalidate it.
Because I’m the type of girl who researches her way out of action, I purposefully stopped wanting to know “how it works” and instead showed up to see how it might work for me.
After my session, I drove to work with a foreign sensation in my mind. The last time I felt like a bystander in my brain was when I weaned off my antidepressant several years ago. My brain told me I was worthless and didn’t deserve to live, but I knew deep down that it wasn’t true. The only antidote was to ride out the drug.
This sensation was positive. It was like having a secret that even you don’t yet know. Like looking right inside your chemical synapses and seeing the moment they start to fire differently — Magic School Bus stuff.
I’m optimistic, and I’m excited to share my journey with you in the coming months.
Try it: Head-to-Knee Forward Bend, Janu Sirsasana
The poses that appear the simplest can often be the most challenging. Likewise, you’d think it would be easier to face the things that are holding us back.
Practice this dance with tension in Janu Sirsasana, knowing that you can go farther in the pose when you stop trying so hard.
- Sit on your mat with legs extended in front of you. Bring your right foot in to snug against your left inner thigh. Realign on your sit bones to feel fully supported.
- Place your palms or fingertips on either side of the lengthened leg and gently twist your torso, lifting from the base of the spine, so that you’re more completely over top of the leg. Press the left leg down into the mat and reach through the big toe mound of the foot.
- Keep the lift and exhale, walking your arms forward and leading from your chest. If your back starts to round, inhale again to lengthen the low ribs away from the pelvis and exhale to deepen your forward fold. Use your hands as support and breathe into the stretch.
- As you loosen, walk your arms forward even more, perhaps encircling the foot with the palms. Soften your right hip and knee and gently tuck the chin in to the chest to elongate the back of the neck. Stay for six deep breaths.
- Inhale and walk your hands back toward you, coming up with a lengthened spine. Release your right foot down and observe any sensation in the legs before switching to the other side.