What Trauma Looks Like

Trauma. This is what it looks like when it is staring you in the face.  Sometimes it isn’t so obvious.

If you were to look at this image you would NEVER guess that only MOMENTS before I was in a curled up ball, shell-shocked and fighting back the tears. It all emerged from a playful time with my sweetEST daughter and LOVE of my life. We were playing and she pounced on my belly. THAT was the moment that triggered the underlaying trauma still sleeping within my body. Darn. I thought I had gotten so far. And yet, I have. 

Rewind. 3 1/2 years ago (about a month after our daughter was born), I suffered from a uterine hemorrhage that nearly cost my life. Many surgeries and blood transfusions later, I came through (kissing the ground), and never looked back. 

 About a year before that I was in the BEST shape of my life, exercising 7 days a week and sometimes more than once per day. I felt great and I felt ALIVE. Fast forward to today and the idea of doing sit ups scares the crap out of me. The same thing I once loved and thrived on has now become an activity that makes me feel threatened and afraid for my life.

 The crazy thing about trauma is that it finds a nesting place within the cellular make-up of our physical bodies and comes out to bite when you least expect it. The practice of healing breathwork meditation has helped me identify that this exists within me because it literally has the ability to bring the multi-dimensional person that I am into the present moment. In other words, all of the pieces of who i was, am, and hope to be, arrive within THIS moment and when we show up for ourselves like that, healing happens! As my mentor David Elliott so wonderfully describes it, “Where Awareness Goes, Energy Flows”. 

 Each day I bring more love and attention to this place inside my soul and in my body and I know the day is coming where I will get on the mat again and push myself through the scar tissue and the fear. I am close but today reminded me of far how I had come because I didn’t get swallowed by the fear. Instead the me that LIVES today spoke into the fearful heart of the girl who tremored within the shadows of my body. The love and gratitude of all that I am and have today was able to look into her heart and say, “Hey, kid, i see you. I know it WAS scary…but we turn out ok, see?” And that was all I needed to sit up and wipe the tears away. 

 When I see my daughter’s face and measure each mark of her growth on the wall, I also recognize that the same mark measures how many more days I have been gifted to share this life with those I love and also with the world. I am here for a reason and so are YOU.

 Trauma changes you but it doesn’t have to rule you or steal your joy. Allow the you that lives today to have compassion for the you that went through traumatic times yesterday. The practice of breathwork is a powerful tool that has not only helped to dig down deep into my emotional body, but has also helped me to be more compassionate, more understanding of the healing process, and above all more present. 

 IMG_20180902_191712LOVE is the best medicine. Breathe it all in.

What is this thing called Breathwork?

If you are reading this and that question intrigues you, maybe this was written just for you!

Here are some of my notes and thoughts as I travel down this path of wonder…

Some Definitions and passages that resonate with me:

Prana – Life Force: the spirit or energy that animates living creatures; the soul.

“Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7

Whether you follow a particular set of scriptures or have your own ideas about what the soul, breath or life force is, there is one thing no one can deny and that is that all of us who are living have breath. The moment we breathe on our own we are proclaimed “born” and the moment our breath leaves our bodies is the moment we slip out of this world into “death” or the other side of this life as we know it.

Most of my life I have pondered spiritual things. I remember as a child feeling very close to God/my spirit when I was outside or interacting with the earth. There seemed to be a rhythm and heart beat in each and every living thing. I believe I heard messages within my heart that were deep truths about love, life and purpose without hearing a single audible word.

As I grew older and less interactive with nature, I began to lose touch with spiritual things the more I followed the rhythms of this world, our culture, and being a working mama on the east coast. My faith in God and my passion for all things healing and spiritual never left me but I felt my time was all spent and although my “intentions” were good, I just never followed through because there were so many other things higher up on my priority list.

Then one day it hit me. My anxiety level had been growing for weeks (maybe even years), and for some reason I didn’t even recognize it as anxiety. I began feeling impatient, cranky for no reason, and kind of snarky with my husband. I have always been a non-stop, get it done, don’t-stop-til-you-drop, type lady. I have always seen myself as positive, hard working and having a natural zest for life and serving those around me. My anxiety was masked by my excitement and passion for all of the great things I was involved in and so it was easily undetected…until suddenly I felt like I was going to burst like a pressure cooker. No warning, just an “oh, snap” kind of feeling (literally).

You may or may not relate to this and that is totally fine, but the reason I am sharing this is because of what I discovered during this time that literally gave me my life back in the richest, healthiest, and fullest form.

My sister has often said, “Sometimes you need to sink to the bottom so that you have something to push off of.” This was definitely one of those times and I believe sinking down to that murky, deep bottom was just what I needed to lift me back up to the sunny surface again.

That was when I said out loud to myself and to those close to me, “I think I need help.”

I started popping in on yoga classes again, booked acupuncture appointments, found a therapist (who also worked with energy fields and EFT), and then….I found it…

One day while scrolling through my social media feeds I saw a pretty picture. Haha! Yup. I know, it’s so superficial, but its true. I saw the words “Breathwork” along with this beautiful image and decided to investigate this link further. That was the moment that literally changed the course of my life for what I believe I can say as “forever”.

And so I began practicing a new type of Breathwork. It was unlike any type I had every tried or practiced in a yoga class and it slowly began to become part of my daily life. I started with little 10 minute youtube clips and then started purchasing sessions (actually investing) in this thing! I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew it made me feel lighter and things in my life started feeling less heavy. My sister recognized how helpful this was for me and bought me a private session with my (now) teacher, Erin Telford. During the session all I remember was a tingling sensation, like my life energy was dancing all around my body. Strong emotional memories and thoughts came into my awareness and I cried and released a lot of gunk that day. The anxiety and pressure that had been rising was there for a reason. I saw with my heart into what it was and grieved in places I had squashed down so deeply that I foolishly believed it was gone. Emotions and trauma hide in our bodies. Belief systems too. Thank goodness I sank to the bottom so I could finally push off of something tangible and begin to rise upwards again.

It astounds me to think back on this time and see how far it has brought me. So many pieces began to connect and it feels like I have arrived in the place I was meant to be my whole life long. I feel like that child again, in tune with nature and the natural rhythm of things. All of the careers I have tried, certificates I have earned, experiences with people (young and old), all seemed to be pointing me to this place where all of those resources can come together and be used at once. This is what this type of breathwork does. It clears the cobwebs, detoxes the emotions that lurk within our bodies, and gives clarity and hope.

As some of you may know I have continued on this path and have gone through training (which I intend to do over and over again throughout my life) so that I can deepen my practice and also share this with others. I watch as each and every person has their own awakenings and releases. I witness the deep connection of breath with the soul and know this work is deep and real and literally moves mountains.

If any of this resonates with you please feel free to share here or reach out personally.

Private sessions are now being booked through the studio into the month of May and group classes will be coming to our studio soon so stay tuned!

Love & Light*