Yes, we can begin to find peace, but trauma keeps the body revved up. It keeps the moments of when the trauma happened in the forefront of our brain as if they are still happening. Because of the impact of these moments, it keeps our nervous system on edge and our brain from slowing down.
If you read the book, "Waking The Tiger", you'll see a very good and healthy explanation of what trauma does to the body and the mind. It is the basis for much of what I have learned along with what has physically been demonstrated to me in my own body through healing with Dr. Paul Canali of Unified Therapy.
You can compare trauma to walking through the jungle. There are predators out there and if you don't watch out, you'll become lunch for an animal in the jungle. Let's use being hunted by a Tiger as Dr. Peter Levine discusses.
Your body is revved up...
In trauma, the Tiger pounces and attacks just like walking through the jungle. Even if you somehow escape the Tiger or the trauma, your body is still revved up like the event is happening. We've all had those moments that shocks or frightens us and it takes a while to come down. Trauma does the same thing, but to a much greater degree. Trauma keeps us in that revved up state. The long term impacts of it can be felt and see in the mind and body for years after it stopped.
Even long after the trauma has passed, it is as if we are still experiencing it. This is why reaching out to support groups, therapists and other body-centered trauma healing is essential. It isn't about being weak, but learning and discovering how to let go of the residual impacts from the trauma. It is about finding ways to heal from our inner core. It is about reclaiming all that we are and learning how to show trauma the door.
As if things never ended...
I went through intense torture and childhood sexual abuse. It shaped me in so many ways. While I've done extensive deep body healing from the trauma with Dr. Paul Canali, there are moments that the triggers act as if the Tiger is still chasing me. Of course, I know that the events have stopped, but in my mind and neural pathways, they are still acting as if things never ended. Trauma keeps us in that state.
The body needs to be a central part of continued healing because even though we try to disconnect, forget and numb, the cells, muscles, nervous system and the brain still remember. They don't forget. Unless these parts of our bodies are healed deeply, they will continue to rev up the nervous system from the trauma and keep peace away.
Deep peace is difficult after Trauma...
If your body is on full alert because it believes there is a Tiger waiting to pounce, most likely you are not going to be able to lay down and take a nice restful nap. It is the same with trauma. As long as the trauma remains within us, true and deep peace will be difficult to grasp.
One of the things that I so love about Unified Therapy with Dr. Paul Canali is that after you've gone through a moment of deep release, the peace that ensues is unlike anything we have ever felt. It is such a deep peace that you beg him to just leave you in that place, not wanting to come out from it. It is hard to describe it, but in the process of healing through this work, when you do feel what I'm talking about, it will blow your mind!
In healing, we have to learn how to understand that the Tiger is no longer chasing us. Our minds will make us believe that it is while keeping it from our conscious thought. Our minds try so hard to protect us that we often stay in numbing and disconnectedness. It is in reconciling these things that we will find further healing into a life that is truly ours. It is in these moments of healing that we will discover more of who we are and that is a beautiful thing. It is a place of peace.
Trauma may try to keep the peace away, but the more we work to heal, the more we will discover it. Healing is about taking our life back from those things that stole it. It is about finding that awareness which leads us to a greater peace than we've ever known.
Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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