By Eileen Martin, See the Triumph Contributor
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin
Protecting Our Existence
Recently, I became keenly aware of the toll trauma and violence can take on our physical bodies. As a survivor, I have been processing, healing, and focusing on my mental health and moving forward happily. All the while, I have suffered with chronic pain and just moved through it, often times with clenched teeth and with a survivor mentality. While taking steps to address my pain, it became very clear to me that my body had been tense for so long that my mind forgot to alert my body that I was safe now. I am no longer living in fear, and shame and guilt are not driving my decisions.
As victims, we spent day after day clenching, tensing, grinning and bearing it in order to protect our existence. Trauma eroded our sense of safety. We moved through our days the best we could. We were in survival mode. And here we stand, a success story.
Recognizing and Renegotiating
But now that we are safely removed from the trauma, are our bodies still responding in fight, flight, freeze mode? Specifically, freeze mode? Have we really recognized the fear, shame, and guilt that are stored in our body? Can we allow ourselves to recognize the memories our physical body has stored by what we have experienced? In doing so, can we renegotiate the terms by being mindful to how our bodies respond in our daily interactions with others? Are we still responding with fear because we have been reacting with our gut lens? You know, that guttural response of impending doom if you don’t quite get it right, or have the answers, or say the wrong thing. Are we stuck in “freeze mode” and are our bodies are trying to tell us something by aching and hurting?
Releasing and Blossoming
We can make a conscious choice to release what no longer serves us by mindfully considering how our bodies feel and react, and by taking time to tenderly care for our physical health as much as our mental health. Our mental and physical health are so intricately linked and can affect each other in such an immense way. If we can recognize when we are reacting with our gut lens, pause and consider what is triggering our reactions, process this through another lens that recognizes that we are safe, we may very well begin to heal our bodies by letting go of the constricted living in freeze mode. We have a chance to reclaim our bodies in a way that allows us to blossom without restriction.