I'm back to our intimate writings together in the "heartbeat" series. Sometimes, our lives call for little or big changes to dig into the nature of healing that will bring us back home to ourselves. I was called to ask this intimate question today, "Can God heal me?" I was feeling the parts of my day, the parts I needed to be strong to, the parts I needed to surrender to, the parts I needed to receive in, the parts I needed to participate in. I'm participating in a new way lately and it's a way that I hope will heal me on deeper levels.
I started a new round of physical therapy today as I was sorting out issues with post concussion syndrome, adrenal surging, whiplash, and central nervous system imbalances that were leaving me with uncomfortable pain, headaches, and sensations that didn't leave me feeling whole. As much as I would like to think that I am powerful and empowering, I realized that pain takes a totally different toll in life. It changes your essential ingredients and your innate self and it forces you to adapt and heal in ways that you are not accustomed to.
My new physical therapist steps in to teach me new ways to calm down a constant state of muscle spasming that is so normal for me that I forgot what a true feeling of normal actually felt like. I had some moments of it lately after different health care providers had worked with me and while I did my own therapy, but it was fleeting more than I wanted to admit or liked. I wanted to do something about it, especially in a culture, in a time when we can be drawn into "sucking up" our pain or normalizing experiences that don't serve us in the long run. I needed to dig deeper, even though the layers I'd lifted off with the help of the healers prior had done so much to unmask the trauma I had experienced from a car accident, sexual assault, poverty, and more.
I realized today as I was sitting and telling my story again to someone new that I didn't tear up at critical moments and it wasn't nearly as emotional for me tell the story. I had told my therapist this. It was the first time when the emotion wasn't the first thing that came up. It's not to say that it didn't come up prior to this visit. I was walking out of one routine of therapy and into a new one, and it came with some sadness and fear (one thing ending, a new thing beginning) that a change can bring. I just took myself through the motions, knowing that I needed this new therapy for myself to unlock more keys to the pain underneath in my body so that I could get more of this pain free. What I was doing for myself wasn't enough and I admitted that I still needed help to get free. I think the thing we forget sometimes in life is that we still need help even when we have made significant steps forward. We must not be afraid to let this new help in because it can bring new insight into how we manage ourselves, our pain, our healing, and ultimately, our liberation.
I was telling my previous physical therapist who played such a huge role in breaking my body out of serious autonomic dysfunction that feeling some sense of normal was starting to help me understand what it felt like to be me again. I had spent too much time in trauma or being controlled that I couldn't even breathe, feel, and live in a natural rhythm. It was cathartic to say this out loud to someone who cared to listen. It was profound to me to say it rather than write it. It was profound for me to share it rather than just feel it. I had carried such a burden for so long. I had survived such deep rejection and harm that lived in a strong place of silence and coping because I had to survive it. To realize that it could be different, that I could feel something else other than toxicity and darkness was a sign that I was getting free even if I wasn't sure how I would land and if my body would understand what to do with it after being so abused. So, when my new physical therapist helped me to slow down today by taking movement one simple step at a time, my body wasn't sure what to do with it. My body was spasming and doing its involuntary bracing and guarding as a response. My physical therapist was just asking me, reminding me, to slow it down and take it one conscious step at a time while educating me on how this was retraining my body to form a different memory around traumatic and stress responses. I had been working so long with this outside experience of, "When are you going to get over this?" that my body was so confused as to what to do. Do I push hard or do I take it slow? I was doing PT everyday in a certain way to work through the resistance and the fear that my body would start to spiral down again if I didn't keep up, if I didn't work hard at it, if I wasn't strong enough. Yet, here was this physical therapist telling me to keep it simple and uncomplicated so that my body could understand the message I was sending it.
I had just been talking about sending simple messages to help understanding become clear, understood, and effective. Yet, here we were, talking to my body in a way that it could understand what I was telling it to do in response to stress and trauma. My therapist asked me if I had done any exercises to try to replace traumatic memory, and suddenly I realized that I was in the right place at the right time to learn what I needed to learn for this trauma healing. I was explaining that I used to know how to explain to someone else how to heal, how to breathe, and how to come out of a dark place, and here I was needing to surrender a bit more to these unknown sensations that my physical therapist needed to understand to help walk me out of trauma. I was a little daunted that I couldn't explain something that I had experienced for so long that it was normalized in my body. I had lived so long with it that now it was as if my body was experiencing growing pains. My body was ready for someone who knew more than I did and did it in a different way that I'd learned before. I wondered deep inside if God could and would fully heal me, as I have prayed for so many nights before. I believe the answer is Yes. YES. God can and will help me heal. The helpers and healers have been manifesting just when I needed them so that my brain, body, heart, spirit, and soul has a chance to transform my circumstance. This song, Jireh, below makes me feel that it's possible and that I am on the right path for such healing. It will all come together, God says, I feel. I just don't know how God will put these puzzle pieces together along with healing the heart pain I feel from past experiences. I feel that God is calling me into this precious present moment with less comparison and more faith. The prefect, good, and correct communication will come. The healing will come. I am okay. I am worthy, I am valued. It's time to learn, to listen, to commit, to experience. In trauma, one of the key problems that trauma survivors experience is dissociation. I really noticed it lately when I sensed that my trauma self was moving in one direction and my logical grounded self was going in another. This experience can make you feel broken, unwhole, not fully like yourself. It's important, in times, like these, to be fully present inside your body. Coming back to breath, simplicity, less thought, more meditation, gratitude, and embodiment is a better fit for healing trauma and dissociation. The dissociation comes from the harm, pain, and trauma the body is feeling and either your desire to acknowledge it and work with it to heal it or to ignore and repress it. Stress and trauma responses come from our ability to understand this healing process. To have someone working with you in this healing process is profound and essential. To get free requires commitment, not necessary force and not necessarily more. That's what I learned today. As I focused on moving my head in one direction and in one plane while my body was ready to do 5 things at once, my physical therapist helped me to realize that less is more. My body wasn't ready for five things at once. One thing at a time was the way to calming this trauma down that had a mind of its own. So, as you take steps into your healing in these times, I invite you to take these humble steps too. It may be just one simple message, one simple thing, one simple way that can get you there in one piece and in a better way than you were getting there before. Allow your body to learn something else other than stress and trauma. Give it and your mind a chance to heal. Take a moment and realize just how much your heart will thank you.
Thanks so much for listening.
Until next time.