Updated: Jan 25, 2019
"If you have a comfortable connection with your inner sensations-if you can trust them to give you accurate information- you will feel in charge of your body, your feelings, and your self." -Bessel Van Der Kolk
Trusting your internal world is important to be integrated and whole as a person, but often we are not taught this way of relating to ourselves. In "The Body Keeps the Score," Bessel Van Der Kolk asserts that we often learn to hide from our real selves. The downside of this is the more we try to push away internal signals, the more likely they are to take over. When internal signals are pushed aside for too long, that can lead to a sense of internal panic and demonstrate itself through unhelpful habits.
This is especially difficult for those who have experienced trauma. Trauma can create a fight or flight response. Either we run away from painful feelings in order to get by, or we can even fight through without knowing the right tools to "fight." Trauma has a way of freezing sensory information.
The task, then, is to try to create more of a friendly relationship to the body. We can very curiously explore WHAT we are feeling, which then can lead to the WHY behind the feeling. The avenue for this exploration can be different from each person. For some, it might through various physical movements, such as yoga. Connection can be formed through the practice of mindfulness, which is a gentle, non-judgmental awareness of one's thoughts and emotions. It could even be done through artwork, which can be a form of giving language to things for which we might not have any words to explain.
Courage is the ingredient needed to slowly explore some of the areas that are painful or unhelpful in our journey to healing. May we have the courage to journey where we need to go in our lives to create a sense of healing and wholeness!