It’s a beautiful morning on the West Coast. The air is crisp and cool with a tiny little breeze. I love the feel of cool air on my skin in the morning as i wander around my yard welcoming and being welcomed into a brand new day. Two little rabbits have been visiting my yard this week. A mom and her baby. I was hoping to see them. I sense that they feel safe and protected here in the fenced yard.
It’s quiet this morning. I’m so grateful I can notice and appreciate the quiet. I feel myself immersed in the quiet. It wasn’t always this way. My mind/body was so full of undigested survival stress (the past) that I didn’t have capacity to even notice the quiet. I was fixated on painful body sensations and a narrative that had nothing to do with the present moment. I thought it was reality. Like so many of us I was caught up in a loop of unresolved past that was stuck on repeat in my physiology.
Without intervention the nature of trauma patterns is to repeat not to resolve but I didn’t know that at the time. I kept trying to resolve the dilemma of trauma by trying harder. The more I tried the tighter my system became until it became unbearable and my physiology burned out. This place of exhaustion has many names; burnout, breakdown; chronic illness; chronic pain; chronic stress; PTSD; CPTSD; unable to cope. The inevitable consequence of being driven by survival stress and out of sync with the wisdom of our bodies.
The undigested past lives in all of us as survival stress. It lives in us as sensations, tension, constriction, painful narratives and suppressed emotions. It’s very complex and yet the antidote is actually quiet simple. Simple but not easy. We have to shift very strong survival and relational patterns and attune to our own needs. This can mean big changes in our lives. It did for me.
I’m looking outside at the sunflowers I bought on the weekend. I saw them at the grocery store and felt an impulse to buy them. I ignored the impulse at first and then went back the next day. I’m learning to follow my impulses. It took me a couple of days to find the right spot for the sunflowers in my yard. The right conditions. I noticed that they like the sun and also get dry really fast so I moved them slightly so their roots were more in the shade and the flowers facing the sun. I also placed them where I can see them from my favorite spot on the couch. I found the just right spot for them and this morning they are opening. They’re beautiful.
Human beings are like plants. We do really well in the right conditions and poorly in the “wrong” conditions. It’s up to us to discover what the right conditions are for us to heal. To flower. It is not our nature to be anxious, constricted and shut down all the time but I understand how it happens. I really do. It happened to me.
When I go to the grocery store and see plants that are shoved into the back and left untended I notice how quickly they start to wilt and die. They are forgotten. I always want to bring them home and just give them a little water and some new and rich soil. The reward of just a little care is not only the flowering but the opportunity to care. It’s our nature to care. We are interconnected with all beings.
The work that I do is all based on a few simple principles. The first is the importance of understanding the impact of trauma on our physiology. How did we get this way? The second is to begin to discover the right conditions and resources to heal. Healing can mean many things but I see it primarily as the regulation of our nervous system and connection to the present moment, meeting our undigested past, restoration of our authenticity and attunement to ourself and others. The third is learning and repeating simple present moment self attuned practices that will shift the neurobiology of trauma.
I hope you will consider joining me for my upcoming event, The Sacred Simplicity of Right Now. If you have any questions feel free to email me.
All of Candace’s services are Trauma, PTSD, Complex Grief, Chronic Illness and Benzo withdrawal symptom sensitive.