7 minutes ago
I was listening to an episode of Becoming Wise yesterday. I'm linking it in my profile because everyone should check it out. Krista Tippet interviews Bessel Van Der Kolk (author of The Body Keeps the Score), and they explore the idea of body trauma and how, when our bodies don't feel like safe spaces, we tend to absorb and respond to all of the energy around us, specifically the negative energy.
Body trauma can happen in a myriad of ways. It can look like physical abuse, and it can also look like years of internal shaming. Many of us don't even realize we have body trauma. Living in Western culture doesn't help either. We're obsessed with numbing emotional awareness with alcohol and food. No matter how it happens, disembodiment denies us grounded living. Instead of being able to breathe and keep ourselves rooted in adversity, we absorb it like a sponge. We end up not knowing how to separate ourselves from external things mainly because disembodiment looks like not knowing how to live inside ourselves to begin with.
Van Der Kolk says we have to un-hijack ourselves. The result he explains looks this. "...your reptilian brain, if you breathe quietly in your body and you feel your bodily experience, and stuff happens to you, you notice that something is happening out there and you say, oh, this really sucks. This is really unpleasant. But it’s something that is not you, so you don’t necessarily get hijacked by unpleasant experiences. The big issue for traumatized people is that they don’t own themselves anymore. Any loud sound, anybody insulting them, hurting them, saying bad things, can hijack them away from themselves."
I'm fascinated by this idea. I love the visual of breathing quietly and feeling my physical experience without picking up and carrying the unpleasant feelings and external energies. It's learning to be observant but not reactive, acknowledging the positive and negative experiences but not allowing them to affect my existence.
I'm curious to hear what other people think about this. Has anyone else been exploring this idea or intentionally practicing more grounded and embodied living? I'd love to hear your thoughts.