Lots of folks when they start getting into yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are looking to ease stress AND many are also considering how they may improve themselves on a multitude of levels from their health to their moods and relationships.
Sometimes in all this desire to be better we can tend to hyperfocus on our problems, believing a deeper understanding of our issues will help us to “get rid of them.”
Fixation on a painful memory or part of the body is not uncommon for any of us, and is especially present in trauma survivors. It even has a name, the Medusa Complex, coined in 1948 by Gaston Bachelard, but reclaimed in this context by Dr. Peter Levine who warned us not to look at trauma directly which could trigger our freeze response, but instead to work with the many sensations in the body.
It is especially important when dedicating ourselves to trauma healing and personal growth that we first investigate and get to answer the often overlooked question of what feels good, at ease or neutral to us in our bodies.
Most folks want to jump right into the deep end of their “stuff” without figuring this important question out first. This can happen because we are programmed to look for what’s wrong, don’t think it’s important to discover places of ease and don’t believe we deserve to feel good without “doing the work”. All of these conceptions must be put aside because it’s exactly by knowing where we can go in the field of our bodily sensations to rest and feel ease that makes doing the hard work of trauma healing bearable. It can also give us a sense of where we are headed.
Go ahead and take some time now to check in with your body and see if you can find a place of comfort, even if it is very small. If that doesn’t feel possible or it is too triggering to go inside the body as can be the case for trauma survivors, see if you can find comfort in taking in something in your surroundings, a texture or color that is pleasing to you.
Knowing what pleases you is empowering and an important part of the healing journey!
It’s not that we want to ignore or bypass bad feelings. Opening and closing, contraction and expansion are natural and healthy rhythms in our body which benefit from our attention. You can work to regulate the body by moving between pleasant and unpleasant sensations as we practice in the guided meditation here.