Healing is not a straight line. It zigs and zags. So what guides the process? How can we better understand this process and support the health journey with all its twists and turns?
It begins with awareness. We think we are going to build this awareness of body and mind. Then we will improve our habits, relax and slow down, and get to our best health. But we get started and then we get stuck.
Getting stuck is the freeze response. It is a trauma response. We may not realize we are looking at life through the lens of our trauma. But we all have trauma. It is not always one giant event, but can be microtraumas that build up over time.
Unprocessed trauma will start to creep into all areas of our life. It becomes a control agent that we navigate our lives with. But there is also alchemy in the process of addressing our trauma. The exact steps look different for all of us, but it flows in similar ways.
Processing trauma and releasing the freeze response requires safety and trust. When safety and trust have been scarce, it can take a long time to feel comfortable. We have all had to navigate silent pressures and oppressors that push us to live according to specific social norms. We’ve learned there can be violent consequences when we are unmanageable or transgressive.
So the question is, what do you do when you get overwhelmed? Where do you go? What are your patterns of response? We create these patterns over time, and it can be hard to see them for ourselves sometimes. Others can help us identify our patterns and grow our awareness.
At the end of the day, we also need to have empathy for ourselves. Self-compassion creates space for us to feel safety and trust in ourselves. There is room for taking a break. Looking at the reality of things can be quite sobering. The pain of the world is so ugly when we really look.
In mindfulness, we learn we are present in the moment. And then there is another second that passes, another beat that happens. When we find our agency to be with ourselves, in recognition of the ugly, that in itself is a microempowerment.