*** Practical tips for the you who survived ***
Dear sister. Dear brother!
Yesterday I wrote to the you who survived.
I wrote that your traumatized brain works differently…
And that it doesn’t need the next tool. The next practice. The next one telling you about the next magic pill or affirmation or mantra.
Instead it needs safety. It needs soothing. It needs acknowledgement for the horrific things you have survived.
It needs LOVE and love and love and even more love!
I want to break this down today – because just love can be a little abstract…
We need to understand a few things about our nervous system and our brain so that “healing through love” can become a reality in our daily life.
I started my healing journey in 2011 after my heavily traumatized system choose to develop a borderline personality disorder as its coping mechanism.
The books and doctors told me that this is a condition that can only become better to handle but it will never heal completely…
I prove them wrong after only 4 years!
So first of all when someone has told you – no matter what condition you might have – that you will never be able to heal it:
DON’T LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLES BELIEF SYSTEM BULLSHIT!
Of course, there are always MORE and DEEPER Levels of healing possible.
But let’s look at what healing means so we are on the same page:
Healing for me means you train your brain and your nervous system to
SWITCH FROM SURVIVAL MODE TO THRIVING MODE
You don’t look at the world anymore as a fundamentally dangerous place you need to protect yourself from but as a huge adventure playground full of possibilities.
Sure you still will scratch your emotional knees and fall on your ass every now and then but you see this as part of being on an adventure playground instead of a catastrophe.
So let’s take a look at what healing through love truly means:
1. THE ABILITY TO SELF SOOTH AND SELF REGULATE
This one is the most fundamental one you will develop on your journey.
Look at kids on the adventure playground. They fall on their nose and cry bitterly for a minute before they get back up and continue playing.
Everybody needs to develop their own self soothing and self regulating skills but here are a few examples to try out.
>Carry a crystal that fits nicely in your hand and that you can touch when you feel stressed and overwhelmed
> Use soothing essential oils like lavender to smell in situations that causes you to feel anxiety
> use sloooooooooow and deep breathing – breath in to a count of 6 – hold for a count of 6 – breath out to a count of 6 – hold for a count of 6 – repeat
> sound out your stress and anxiety – breath in and let it go with a sigh
> eat something very sour or sharp like ginger that brings you back into the present moment instead of getting stuck in anxiety or overwhelming thought spirals
> stroke your own skin – your leg, your arm, your heart center and tell yourself that you are save and loved.
> ask your partner or a friend to write you what they love about you on a nice postcard you can carry around and read when you need it (thank you so much Sarah Cronin )
> use your rational sense to calm you down and analyze the situation by taking yourself out of it and looking at the facts.
No saber-tooth tiger around who wants to eat you… You are safe!
2. RADICAL SELF LOVE
Some of our parts are easy to love – and some are very very VERY hard to love… You, in fact, desire to get rid of them…
If love is the source of healing it is important to realize that going to war with parts of yourself is not a loving thing to do…
But how do we RADICALLY love ALL the parts that live within us?!
Even the part that constantly tells us that we look like shit and deserve to die…
Here is my 3 part process:
Realize that this part of yourself is only a part of yourself
It is not the entirety of what is you. This helps you to create distance between your self and your part.
Feel where in your body you feel this part is living. Do you feel it as a contraction in your heart? A block in your throat? Tension in your jaw?
See if you can come up with an image and a name. For example the part telling you you look like shit and deserve to die looks like the evil witch from a ferry tale and you can call her bitter old hag.
Make contact with your inner self
Your inner self is the most loving, understanding, accepting and compassionate part.
Do the same process with her as you did for the negative part. Locate her in your body, give her an image and a name.
(Mine is called the queen of the heart)
Imagine the inner self reaching out to the nasty part
(or the fearful part or whatever it is you are working with – this process works for each and every emotion that you struggle with)
First stream love and compassion towards the part. You can just imagine this or put one hand where the inner self lives and the other hand where the part lives you are working with.
Then let the inner self ask the part what it needs to ease out and feel better.
See if you are able to provide it.
A final side note: Every part that lives within your system was once installed there by YOU yourself… It was once needed to keep you safe and functioning in the world even if it makes no sense to you anymore nowadays. Maybe you want to ask this part what its purpose is within your system. You might be surprised…
3. DISCHARGING SHOCK FROM THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Nervous system shocks is what we often refer to as trauma.
These shocks can be high grade (car accident, physical violence, sexual abuse, etc) or low grade (small incidences that accumulate over time like being screamed at or abandoned by a parent regularly)
These shocks create the walls, protective mechanisms and armors against life and kill our natural aliveness and our ability to be adventurous and playful.
It needs specific practices and a safe container to actually release these shocks and melt the walls around our hearts.
When we start doing this our natural aliveness, our ability to play, to celebrate life and to feel ecstatic is slowly coming back.
The tools I most often use myself and teach my clients are carthartic exercises such as beating a pillow and TRE (trauma release exercises) where we lay in butterfly pose – laying on our back, feet together and knees fall halfway to the side – so that our legs start to shake and tremble naturally after a while.
Sounding and screaming can support this process tremendously.
Breathwork is as well an amazing tool for this purpose.
Animals shake out their trauma naturally but we humans have been taught to suppress our instincts to shake and sound.
It’s time to reclaim our instincts.
As a final note and an overarching theme:
YOUR HEALING JOURNEY NEEDS PATIENCE!
You carry your patterns with you over years and years – don’t expect them to be healed in a few weeks or months!
It’s okay to take a few years to heal! It will get easier and easier over time and after a while you welcome a crisis or a negative emotion as a chance for even deeper healing!
I sincerely hope that these explanations help you to cope with your trauma. Please don’t hesitate to consult a therapist if you feel that it is too much for you to deal with what happened by yourself.
Make sure you choose someone who works with the body as well as the mind as just plain talk therapy is not very effective by itself.
If you desire some assistance with your healing adventure you can book a free call with me and we can talk about some possibilities that will help you on your individual path.