One of the most precious discoveries I made through Trauma Touch Therapy was how much grief was still stored in my heart space. I vividly remember this session – connecting to my body, hearing my therapist ask me where we needed to drop and, like the jaws of life – my jaw clenched – HARD. We both noticed this body response with curious amusement……where my body was asking me to go was my heart space but before I could speak that to direct the drop, another part of me took over and wouldn’t let me utter it. So, we came out and tried again – maybe we could drop in somewhere else? Though, each time we connected, my body was beckoning me to my heart.
So, we stopped and integrated – what might be going on here to cause this conflict?
What we uncovered was, I was afraid if I dropped into my heart, the grief and sadness that still lie unprocessed within would drown me and my life and everyone in it. So, while my initial feeling response to my jaw was frustration and confusion, I later came to feel incredible gratitude for my jaw’s wisdom, slamming on the breaks and asking for a pause. Once this revelation was made I devised a plan that allowed me to slowly lower a bucket down and begin scooping up this sadness and grief in a way my life and own resources could manage instead of diving in head first and – you guessed it – drown like I might have. Just after a couple times of lowering in the bucket and sorting through its contents, my heart space actually began to warm and feel more free. I could take deeper and longer breaths and perhaps best of all, by taking this work at my pace – respecting all the factors at hand – I gained a deeper trust in myself and felt more confident than ever to keep healing.
So, how does all this pertain to a new me?
Grief work led me back to feel and take account of all the vital elements I lost or were taken from me, plunging me into survival mode. I wrote a list of my lost elements, I ran my finger over each written word and as I stayed present, for as long as it needed, I could feel my bucket filling up and pouring out through hot tears. For, if death has no cost, life has no value – and this was the juice in my squeeze. I realized, it wasn’t enough to honor each element by word. If I meant to restore some of these losses, I had to place value on what their losses meant to me. How might the restoration of said element add quality back to my life? Because without this value system – without feeling the pain of its absence, I lacked the energy – the why – to do the work to restore its value.
And this, my friends, is the rub. Logically, you might think – why wouldn’t you naturally just restore something if you know it is going to make your life better? For me, I learned how to survive without these elements and my kick-ass superhero survival identity started fighting this process……”Gabby, do we REALLY need patience or integrity or forgiveness or assertion or play or compassion, laughter or joy – REAL JOY, isn’t the variation we came to develop enough….haven’t we done so good without these parts??” And the truth is, yes! We did damn good without these parts, it is quite amazing what the human can survive without.
But I wanted more than survival – I wanted BOTH – to KNOW I could show up and survive if needed AND thrive when able too! And this is how our nervous system is meant to function, to offer us a fluidity in and out of times of survival, NOT keep us imprisoned to it forever.
What has felt so fascinating to me, as I continue to restore my losses is, instead of feeling like I am becoming a new person, I am really just coming home to who I always was and who I was always meant to be, more naturally and presently each day. Like the masks I needed to wear to survive are falling away, one by one and my genuine self is manifesting more and more.
Trust me, I still have lots of talks with my inner superhero, showering her with the appropriate gratitude, for if it wasn’t for her, I’d be dead. And now, instead of us fighting every step of the way, we respect each other for our own unique gifts and trust we will call upon each other when needed. She just gets to take a lot more, well deserved vacation time. With her on break, this gives other parts of me the chance to strengthen, catch up and instead of having one superhero to bear all the weight, I am forming a whole team of resources within and a beautiful team of resources all around me too!
Cheers to all of our ‘new old’ selves <3