INNER ALCHEMY | karen johnson

Somatic Experiencing… Healing Early Imprints and Developmental Trauma

g00987Trauma happens.  Generally lasts a short period but if not dealt with wounds can last a lifetime.

It can result from fairly benign situations, i.e., routine medical procedures which can impact us as emotional, and physical abuse does.

A one-time incident or repeated occurrence.

The young are especially vulnerable as their brains and bodies are still developing and have less ability to cope with stress and overwhelming experiences.

Children who experience prenatal or birth trauma, medical procedures, abandonment or neglect, loss of birth mother, emotional, physical or sexual  interference may be traumatized and find their ability to handle stressful or overwhelming situations as adults is stunted and find it difficult to be present in the world.

 

What is Trauma?

A result of situations that overwhelm our capacity to defend ourselves and we feel powerless.  It is anything that threatens our physical, emotional, social, or spiritual existence.

Often unseen, ignored and misinterpreted.  We identify trauma as war, natural disasters, violence, neglect, abandonment, and physical or sexual abuse… we need to expand our definition.  What determines whether something is traumatic is the person’s experience.

 

It’s trauma when the individual experiences a real or perceived threat to their survival

Situations of helplessness, pain, confusion, abuse of power, betrayal, car accidents, medical procedures, emotional or physical traumas.

 

Inherited Trauma

Trauma can be passed through the womb and  transgenerational traumas can be inherited and handed down through family ancestor lines.

The scope of trauma may leave you struggling with unsettling emotions or feeling disconnected.

There may be feelings of danger, fear, terror, anger and sadness.  It can lead to post traumatic stress and disassociation as well as depression, addictions, eating disorders, anxiety, isolation leaving an individual feeling like they don’t belong and there is something wrong with them.

 

Somatic Experiencing®

Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body mindfulness approach to healing trauma developed by Dr. Peter Levine.

Human beings have an inborn ability to overcome the effects of trauma

 

The approach is to work with stuck energy or trauma that is lodged in our nervous system through focused attention, body awareness and slowly approaching, contacting and unravelling traumatic residue.  SE approaches trauma without retriggering or getting lost in the story.

 

 

Intelligence

Part of the work is teaching clients to tune into their body’s innate wisdom and help them trust their body’s inborn ability to move them towards healing.

The body always informs us
if we listen.

Our body holds the energy and trauma of what we experienced and when we’re able to stop, observe and listen we receive intuitive guidance which moves us through our blocks to healing and a renewed sense of well-being.

 

Mindfulness

Whether or not you’re familiar with mindfulness practices you probably have unknowingly done so every day of your life.

Have you had the experience where you choose to wear something one day and another day it just feels wrong?   Why you want to eat certain foods one day and another day you don’t dislike it but just not feeling it?  Why you prefer to sit in one place in a room and not another?

There is so much information that goes into making these choices and you’re using felt sense and inner knowingness from your body.  Your body knows and harnesses an intelligence although you may discount it, it is how your body communicates with you.

In SE we employ mindfulness practices to help you gather and access information about yourself.  By tracking and being aware of physical movements and sensations in the body (i.e., muscle tension, breath, heart racing,  trembling).

 

Discharging Trauma

Titration is utilized as a way of taking small steps so you’re not re-traumatizing or overwhelming your system.  It is a process of baby steps that enables you to finally start discharging the blocked energy from your system.  The stuck energy starts to be released in small manageable waves.

It can be a shaking or movement in the physical body, you can feel a subtle change in your breath by it either expanding or feeling stuck or sensing vibration changing in your energetic body.  There are many ways the energy can release.

 

aa

Spirituality and Trauma

In my journey it became increasingly difficult for me to be able to hold and embody the higher spiritual energies doing my personal meditation practice.

If working with clients or writing or teaching I was fine.   When it came to accessing it for me it was like my wiring was muddled.

It was confusing.  I didn’t understand what was happening in my energetic and physical body as I went into higher and higher realms.

A pattern emerged.  As I gained clarity, I frustrated and didn’t have anyone to explain that this was merely residual trauma playing out in my system.

The higher the voltage and power of my meditation; a defense mechanism automatically activated.  With the intensity of going into higher realms of consciousness I was experiencing a re-enactment of an earlier trauma, being overwhelmed with a feeling of danger which pulled me out of deep spaces of consciousness.

Consider

Our ability to master higher spiritual energies rests on the foundation of what our bodies, brains and nervous systems can contain without triggering a reaction such as fear, anxiety, terror which restricts our ability to stay in those spaces.

As we release stuck energy, that is trapped in our nervous systems and physical and energetic bodies, we  create capacity to begin embodying higher spiritual energies.  We can expand and deepen our spiritual connections.


Development Steps

 

Sit with what you’re feeling, allowing yourself to feel.  You could use sadness or numbness as an example it’s whatever shows up for you.

Where it is in your body?  Notice that.  Breathe into that part of the body.  Let the feeling be there.

If it feels too intense… sense only a little slice of it?  So your system can manage and not shutdown.

Stay with it for a few moments.  Insights might come.  Notice them but always return back to the immediate experience.

This type of work can be a challenge.  At times we get mixed up and we may feel we are the feelings.

To work with these types of feelings, without getting overwhelmed, it’s important to develop a practice where there is something beyond the part of you that merges and identifies with the emotions.

That wider sense of beingness is frequently called the observer or witness.  It is the felt sense of awareness that can be present with those feelings without judgment, justifying or blaming.

For most of us, the encounter with pure awareness is most easily accessed in meditation.  The more you can anchor yourself in the part of you that is larger than the emotion (say sadness) the more easily you will process the emotions that come up.

 

You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one.
Each day is a different one; each day brings a miracle of its own.
It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.
                                                  – Paulo Coelho

____________________________________________________________________

 

Karen works internationally with people and businesses
interested in psychological and spiritual growth and
interested in transforming their lives and organizations.

 

Karen Johnson
416.732.2661

115 Danforth, Suite 201
Toronto, Ontario
www.awakeningheartandsoul.com

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply