When trauma hits, it not only clouds our vision, it distorts our capacity to hear and impacts our body with incredible pain.
This can show up for some of us by feeling isolated from others, while being in our alarmed aloneness. We may believe no one can even see us. There are some of us who have begun to recognize, and hear our traumatized selves, and we feel ashamed when we recognize our own pattern. Our inner chatter is something like, "I can't believe I'm repeating this pattern again! This is horrible!" The shame loop takes us out of relationship. Or, we may suppress our emotions, rather than expressing them, out of a fear of rejection or ridicule.
Stepping outside this morning, to tend to my herd, specifically my lead mare who has an eye injury, I felt the onslaught of icy snow being blown in by a north wind sting my face. Our vet came to look at my mare's eye, because I’d seen it was cloudy and she'd been favoring it. It was weeping, she'd been holding it closed, and I could tell it was causing her pain. I learned she had developed an ulcer in her eye. This is caused by a trauma to the eye, perhaps a fox tail had scratched her eye, or she may have injured it rubbing up against something.
The vet gave her a sedative to deaden her pain so we could look more closely at the eye. It was important to clearly understand what was underlying the pain to determine how we could best support her. My mare responded with sensitivity to the medication, and I had to hold her head up for the vet to look into her eye. Her head was SO HEAVY!!!
I was deeply touched as I witnessed my mare becoming unstable on her feet, she's an older mare, so there is something about her vulnerability that really touched my heart deeply. I expressed my concern to the vet, who reassured me everything was happening the way it needed to, and my mare would be all right. I listened to how the vet spoke to both myself and my mare, with a gentle and soothing tone of voice. It really struck me how much I love my horse, AND, how much I love someone who can come in, when one of my herd is in pain, and tune in to what will be most supportive for them to move through their pain to come back into health and wellness. To come back into the sense of freedom that being pain free provides, for all mammals!
I paid attention to how my mare responded to the vet’s compassionate care and noticed how it was for me to be able to look through my vets’ eyes to see more clearly what was underlying this specific pain. To understand what my horse's body was communicating to the trained eye. It dawned on me how similar it is to accompany a human when they have experienced trauma in their life.
Trauma can come in just like that ulcer did in my horses’ eye. It stimulated her eye to cloud up (trying to protect her) yet caused conditions where she was not able to see clearly. It was a really painful experience. Trauma is like that, it comes in and clouds our eyes so we can’t see clearly, and it can distort our capacity to hear clearly. It can take out our prefrontal cortex, where we have our wisdom and ability to empathize, and disconnect us from our ability to even feel emotion. Our pain can become so intense that we literally cut off from the felt-sense of our body.
This highlights how important it is to be received with compassionate understanding. For someone to come in and to seek us out. For them to be willing to see through our eyes, for us to experience and understand that our pain makes sense. As we are accompanied to learn new things we can think and do, our experience will move us through the pain, to the health and wellness that we so desire.
What happens when we begin to embody the kindness and compassion, we desire? When we dare to allow ourselves to be accompanied and for our pain to be seen and understood, especially when it's so raw?
We begin to experience the delight of exquisite gentleness. To receive permission to be with our pain and then notice that when we're accompanied by someone that “gets us” the pain lessens and lightens ever so slightly. For some of us we experience a new space where we can feel into, maybe even to thaw out from, the restrictiveness we’ve existed in. We begin to experience protection, warmth, and care. By allowing someone to be with us, we begin to “feel felt”.
Once we discover the thread that allows us to begin to rebuild our tapestry of life, we begin to take in new colors, new scents, new sounds, and we begin to AWAKEN to a new way to live.
Rather than believing limiting beliefs such as; “I'm different. I can't feel. If I speak up it will just make it worse. I'm over-reactive, over-emotional, etc.”
We begin to embody the mindset, “It's safe to be seen and soothed. My pain makes sense, I make sense. The more authentic I am, the more freedom I experience. I am growing new pathways every day. I am open-hearted and trust life.”
Are you willing to slow down to notice when your body needs soothing, and to pay attention to what supports your body to receive the soothing it needs?