Working with trauma


Part of healing work is looking at our past trauma. My initial approach to this, was an expectation that the trauma would be released and therefore would disappear from my life. I have spent many months /years working on the basis that if I do enough healing work, the trauma and my response to it will disappear. My approach was that if I do enough work, in the right mindset and deepen my relationship with spirit enough then these traumas will be released and I will be able to be as if they never happened, clean and pure.

What I have discovered is that life and shamanic healing is a lot messier than that. These traumas are part of my history, they are now part of me. Trying to release them so that there is no evidence of them, feels a false path. How can I be authentic to who I am, without integrating the traumas into me . Let me give you an illustration that may help clarify what I’m trying to say; as a kid I fell onto a sharp piece of wood with my arm, which cut out a bit of the soft tissue around my muscle. This bled a lot at the time, produced a scab and then eventually the scab fell off leaving a scar beneath, which was red / pink and after a few months faded, so that now it’s just a small mark. Now i can’t erase that small residual scar, it is part of me and if I try to remove it the chances are that I would make it more visible (especially as it is now covered with a tattoo). If we look at psychological traumas the same way, the goal is to let them scar and fade rather than remove them.  The debate within myself is what is the scab, that needs to fall off, what is the scar, is the scar pink or is it faded?

In my own personal journey, I can see that often there was just a scab, which i would pick at, make re-bleed and would then just scab up without healing to produce a scar. I had to go through a process of bringing the trauma back into me and dealing with it’s consequences. With a goal of trying to heal the trauma away, I was creating an image of myself that wasn’t authentic. My history is part of me and what makes me unique. Yet I need to be careful that I’m not keeping a scab running rather than allowing a healthy scar to build and then soften. Scars tend not to hurt when touched, they may itch as they heal more, which over time fades.

The difficulty with the process of healing trauma is that it is unique to each of us. I look back at my life and realise that for many years I had just put a scab on top, which every so often re-bled, but i wasn’t able to so the work to allow for healing. Doing shamanic healing work started the process of healing, yet even now I become aware of a different aspect of myself and the way i am that seems to have been created out of those traumas. Some of this, is the healing process, acknowledging that I created a way of being that worked for me at that time. Now the continued healing is changing my skills and my approach to life which can acknowledge the past and still release me to be free to explore the future in whatever way i desire.

To stretch the illustration a bit, it is massage the scar with bio-oil so that it softens and becomes flexible, so that we can be flexible in our response to life. The flexibility to reach for the stars again whatever the scars within us.

 

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