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Musings of an Awakening Spirit

Stories, poetry & general musings of Rebecca Haywood, a modern-day Shaman with a penchant for bringing the divine into the human experience.

The Trauma Self’s Strive to Thrive

“I am here!”


This has been my mantra for the last couple weeks. It is one that I have used with myself and clients in the past yet with less of a declaration and more of a loving presence. I would place my hand on my heart or wherever my emotional pain had landed and coo, “I am here. I got you.” My clients would report how effective this simple act of self-love and presence was for them, and I experienced the same immediate shift every time… until recently.

My trauma self didn’t want to be soothed. Though the “essential embrace” had served her well—thawing her freeze, calming her flight and her fight—she didn’t want to be subdued anymore. In fact, she was fed up with being at peace with any of it. She wanted to fight; she needed to fight.

But this fight was beyond any reflex or defense of survivor; she didn’t just want to survive, she wanted to thrive. Right!?

That’s what the trauma recovery world says. “Thriving” is the final destination of trauma’s healing journey—the step “beyond surviving”—when we grab onto life and say “yes”, when we stop merely coping with life and begin to direct it. “Thriving” is a beautiful and freeing step for all of us, an evolution of our trauma self.

Yes! So true, and yet this fiery call of my trauma self was asking for more. She was calling out this “thriving” business.

“F*ck this sh*t.” Clearly, she had matured out of her 8 yr old skin and into adolescence. The fangs of rebellion were familiar with their taste of power and distaste for bullshit.

I, the guardian, was at the ready with my spiritual wisdom, “rebellion is merely an aversion reaction, bringing us no closer to true freedom.” I stood in front of my dressing mirror, holding my hand on her heart attempting to soothe her into surrender. “Pick up the white flag, sweetheart. It’s okay.”

“No, it is not okay! I am not okay. None of this was, or is, okay! F*ck your white flag. And f*ck your battle. I fight for me!” Her words struck deep. They pierced the practiced peace of my guardian self and shook something awake. My trauma self was speaking truth and a truth that we all need to hear.

It is not okay—this embattled world in which we seek to “thrive”. Those blind eyes and deaf ears that mute our pleas with doubt. The complacent justice that binds our rights to a bed of divisive duality, that entraps our freedom in a small, stark room—black and white walled with every shade of grey drawn closed to the light.

There is no breath in that world, no space to just be woman or human un-sexualized, or sexualized but unserialized, or chosen and choosing but unpossessed by those choices. There was and is no place for the bloom of my trauma self, no matter her gender, to naturally and wildly unfold, no way for this rose to truly thrive— not within those walls

So where do we the guardian bring our trauma self? Is it enough to simply relinquish the battle and to hold up the white flag? No. It isn’t.

This fight has been passed from generation to generation, a wounded inheritance hiding in our very cells. Sometimes it is blatant— a clear enemy that we shoot down with our evolved modern-day wisdom. But often it is subtle, silent, and so close to the core of our being that we don’t even notice its tug on our sleeve of skin—its pull to be polite, ladylike or gentlemanly, reverent, tame, an orgasm leashed, an uprising quelled. And it may not even tug at all but simply sit there—complacent, resigned, and yet resiliently battling You.

No wonder my trauma self refused surrender. Surrender to what, to whom?

“I am here!” was her Declaration of Independence. It reached through her existential flight of “I don’t want to be here” and beyond it into claiming a territory she was willing to inhabit: a body, an emotional presence and a mind free from wounded dreams—inherited, imposed or self-inflicted. This was her wise, albeit rebellious, move from the “essential embrace” into the next step of her healing journey, “the embodiment”.

Though “the embodiment” does eventually require a surrender and will lead us to that sweet spot of “thriving”, this rebellion of the trauma self secures a place in which she wants to land. It is not a resistance to her healing or to You the guardian; rather it is a call to go deeper and get real with it.

Let her rebellious reach for true empowerment call You out, Guardian, and call bullshit on this world You have learned to manage and to be managed by, all the ways in which You hold yourself back or hold the fullness of life away from You.

More to come, but for now, continue your “walk in two worlds” with her. Much like a parent of a teenage child, You can learn from her; perhaps she will even lead you to change your world, to change our world. For she is a rebel with a very real cause, “I am here!”

Are you here, guardian?

Resistance of the Trauma Self: Part 4: The Fight
Fencing in our Creativity

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