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Befriending trauma demons in my body

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

When a counsellor gave me an iRest meditation CD years ago, the male voice triggered my rage. I did get past that, but I didn’t do it long term.

This time, Andrea Bolding did a wonderful introduction that inspired me to learn more.

It turns out that male voice was the creator of iRest, Richard Miller, PhD. He’s a globally renowned author, yogic scholar, researcher and clinical psychologist who combined traditional yogic practice with western psychology and neuroscience.

Ok, I’m ready for Take Two

In this adventure I find my heartfelt desire for resilience and focus. I want to navigate anxiety without food, especially chocolate. I long for a felt sense of safety and trust that I can stay focused and do this blog-writing thing with more calm, and maybe even joy.

The practice is not easy, but the relaxation is so worth the effort. I find the body scan is a way that I can own my body and choose to stay in it instead of defaulting to avoidance – flight or freeze.

A brutal awakening

A very challenging situation pops up in my life, and bingo! I wake into another 3am anxiety attack. As usual, a grenade of energy has exploded in my pubis area. It rockets up my torso, sets my heart racing and exits out my cheeks.

I’m not shocked anymore, thanks to Bessell van der Kolk’s book and videos about how, with trauma, The Body Keeps the Score.

This time I recall the iRest practice. I accept and observe the sensation without judgement. Use colour, shape and texture. Pair it with its opposite. Hold one, then the other and then both together.

I find calm comfort in the area of my heart. I spend time being with the initial sensation and then with its opposite. I hold both together.

My breathing slows and intensity fades.

I relax, feel calm and fall asleep.

The power of pen and page

In the morning, I journal about my experience. The word entrainment appears on the page. I look for a definition in the Cambridge dictionary and find “to make something a part of it and carry it along”.

I feel hopeful that new neural pathways are forming in my brain.

Following the call to art

I feel called to draw what I saw.

The first sensation: intense explosion.

Its opposite – the second sensation: calm order.

It’s clear to me now that both are part of me. Of course, I want to experience more calm and order, my body and nervous system being relaxed.

In a way it seemed like the second sensation took the chaos into a warm, gentle embrace. If it had a voice, I imagine it might say, “It’s ok. That’s over. You’re safe now.”

I did manage to write this blog piece with more ease than the previous two. Recalling the image of calm order helped me work with more trust and focus.

I even started to enjoy myself!


More Information

Video links:

  • The Body Keeps The Score: A book by PTSD expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, (Under 2 mins)

  • How to detoxify the body from trauma (7.5 mins) Interview with Bessel van der Kolk

  • The Body Keeps the Score (6 mins) Animation by School of Life

  • The Body Keeps the Score: Bessel van der Kolk talks about Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma (1hr 40mins)

Blogging GEMS program

This Blog is a part of the Blogging GEMS program, you can read more survivor GEMS Blogs:

Gratitude Blogs:

Exercise Blogs

Mindfulness Meditation Blogs:

Service and Support Blogs

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