That which is unconscious is SO intangible.
I watch Outlander. The main female heroine (and I mean HEROINE) is a healer. She often deals with physical wounds. The Scottish and the British got into a tangle (again) and she had to save someone (again). Bullet wounds may be scary but if you’re lucky (because you have an amazingly well-written female warrior tending to you) you can dig in and pull it out.
We’re not so quick to take our emotional wounds to the “emergency room”.
They can be difficult to deal with, and sometimes we can’t even access them or we’re afraid to feel them. Even when we actively want to feel them we still have a hard time. I’m endlessly surprised at how deep down an emotional wound can bury itself, and how unconscious fear CONVINCES us there is nothing there.
Recently I was asked to speak on a panel for the Chicago Teacher’s Union about the role of art in Trauma informed practices. I was TERRIFIED. It was little ‘ol me on a panel with executive directors from major not for profits in the city. I was asked to be on the panel because a good friend believed in me. Days leading up to the panel I ended up reliving some old wounds I thought I was over.
Trauma I had experienced growing up had caused this inability to believe in my capability to be on the panel. It felt debilitating. The experience was a testament to how deep the effects of trauma go and how long they stay with us.
Trauma was keeping me in fear of talking about trauma!! Yikes.
We end up retracing what hasn’t been healed. It’s hard to relive old habits stuck in a loop. Loops can be hard to find our way out of. Feelings needing to be felt lurk in the shadows. When they hurt you can’t perform a quick surgery. They get stuck in muscles and tissues and masquerade as physical ailments convincing you they are someone they’re not. Fear can even masquerade as your intuition.
So many gremlins! And not the cute kind.
We’re not always aware of everything we’re feeling. That’s when our wounded parts get in the driver’s seat and make decisions. We end up thinking that which we’re aware of is all there is. And we wonder where the conflict is coming from in our lives. In our bodies. In our hearts.
Anxiety, depression, discontent, lack of focus or even feeling numb are feelings needing to be felt. Grief to be grieved.
In addition to my healing practice I am a teaching artist and I teach playwriting + social justice in CPS a few days a week. I ask my students to get to the root cause of the conflict in their plays. Why does a character think they want what they want? How do their perceptions and beliefs about the world create conflict?
They have to answer Who, What, Where, When, and Why to figure it out.
These are the same questions I ask in sessions. Why do these symptoms exist?? We can’t always see the root cause with our conscious mind. We have to excavate our way to what might be hiding under the surface.
In a recent Reiki session when I had more time than the normal 60 min and I was able to go a layer deeper with a client. Feelings they didn’t know how to feel but desperately wanted to. They were afraid they weren’t capable of accessing them.
Sometime we just need a good ol whole body purge.
And when we let it, energy work gets us there quicker and we feel our way through to resolution.