Hello & Blessings
I wanted to start a newer series of posts that laid out some general maps/approaches in easy language, around some of the common intertwined topics in trauma healing, animism and creativity.
Some of this is just for the sake of expediency, as I spend a lot of my time explaining the same things over & over. Redundancy is very useful (how we learn = variety plus repetition), but I need to find more creative and playful methods inside my practice. My hope is that this is one avenue of freeing up my time and space in order to evolve how I serve my fate.
As such, these posts will be more of a casual conversation between me and the paper, and definitely not some exhaustive list of bibliography, citations and such. That method of teaching bores me. On to the main topic for today…
Chronic Fatigue & Pain (shorthand CFP)
I personally carry around this phenomenon in my own body. From here on, when i say body, i mean body-mind-spirit-nervous system-ancestral family system. All of these nested bodies are “my physical body”.
I’ve been managing CFP for over a dozen years now, it first started showing up in my conscious awareness when i was 28, but it had been going on since my early teens or even before that. CFP for me involves a lot of various symptoms such as anxiety, excessive tension/difficulty relaxing, joint pain and spinal pain mostly, but it is also connected with digestion, food allergies and empathic-relational issues such as insecure attachment, early childhood trauma, and ancestral-cultural traumas such as ghost hauntings.
In my experience, everything comes together like an ecosystem. There is no “one thing”, but there can be big levers, which are factors that hold more weight and thus are more useful to focus on.
In all honesty, the origin or content might not matter that much, it is usually specific to each person, but the patterns remain similar, as well as the methods of healing. I am going to lump the healing pathways into two groups.
Group A is what I will call “Interrupting/Switching Channels” and Group B i will call “Carrying”. Both groups are skillsets that need developing, as both interplay and oscillate in the more advanced situations of healing.
In this skillset, we practice developing mindful awareness and attention, and the ability to compassionately interrupt our neurology. We learn to use the senses to orient to other things in order to “un-fixate” on the negative problem. This is switching from negative reinforcement aka addiction neurology, towards positive reinforcement.
Through a somatic embodiment based approach, we learn to identify sensations, emotions, thoughts/meanings and other emergent phenomena that arise in our experience, and to slow things down and titrate experiences in order to lower intensity and work within a better window of tolerance.
In this way we can emphasize simple, subtle, low intensity pleasure over longer durations, avoiding the peaks and valleys associated with addiction and threat neurology. We literally learn to interrupt painful experiences by switching channels. We learn to prioritize novel sensations, just because doing so will distract us from the “problem” and help our system feel better in the present moment.
When we start feeling better more often, regardless of what’s happening externally, we realize that JOY, not threat or pain, is the human directive.
When we learn to have control and stability over our moment to moment experience, we gain greater confidence and agency. Quite literally, “energy flows where attention goes”. It’s a positive feedback loop.
In this group is where all manner of “doing” practices live. Qi Gong, art making practices, singing, dancing, playing, martial arts, etc.
If “Interrupting” is indirect trauma healing, then “Carrying” is more direct trauma healing.
Carrying is a much more mythic narrative. Here is where we get into deeper animist realities. We realize that we are literally carrying ancestral and cultural inheritances and relations that are crying out for support and care. We must become much more resourced in order to help these parts of the system.
In order to become more resourced we must create stronger relationships with helpful, positive beings in the wider, more-than-human system. We develop these relationships by navigating, receiving and transmitting signals that show up as various components of our experience.
During the “interrupting” practice, we learn to differentiate and identify various emergent phenomena within our system, and inquire deeper into them, thus becoming more skilled in noticing patterns and sub-patterns of phenomena.
We navigate our relationships by untangling, remixing and understanding how our systems are experiencing.
Once we develop very robust resourcing relationships, we can inquire more directly into a “trauma pattern”. When we do this we enter the space together with compassion and flexibility, always staying resourced while attending to the various layers of the trauma pattern.
We may at this time experience all manner of phenomena such as ghosts, hear voices, have memories, feel nauseous, temperature fluctuations, tingling, sexual arousal, etc. The possibilities are vast and diverse. This is why we have to be very skilled at coming back to a secure base, interrupting/switching channels, enjoyment, titrating experiences and relaxing under pressure.
I want to end this post by talking about the last thing there, relaxing under pressure. This is actually where many people reinforce their traumas through a “no pain, no gain” style of relating. This is not what we want. Many people hurt themselves in meditation by fixating on painful stimulus which then collapses their systems into a very bad place that can sometimes last for years.
We must take a far more easeful and pleasurable route towards healing. We must learn to let go of our need for revenge or “justice”, our shame and blame, our victim and perpetrator identity labels, our striving for power and control and domination. We must learn to be well enough now, not later. We must learn to be curious about tough situations. If we can’t do this yet, then we have to slow down and work more on the fundamentals.
Thanks for reading, feel free to engage in a way that feels good for you