Post 2: An Exercise –
Out of Trauma and Into Embodied Consciousness
From the front page:
So for me, a core part of this whole process is about learning to hold places, that sometimes seem contradictory to the mind, alongside each other.
This is a three part reflection related to that – holding acceptance and possibility in relationship to each other. It is one way to begin developing a practice of coming out of trauma culture/consciousness and coming into embodied consciousness.
Part 1 – Close your eyes and just breathe into the possibility of healing, of love or spirit or earth holding us all, of consciousness that is bigger than us, that can hold all of what we are going through and/or what we are all going through as a culture and society.
Just notice where you are drawn whether that is personal or social and take another breath and feel what it is like in your own body to be with this possibility….
As much as possible breathe and be with possibility without judgment about any of it or judgment about your relationship to it all ie if you can’t feel the possibility for healing then notice that too, with as much tenderness as you can.
Notice also how this is in your body.
The places the breath opens and the places it gets stuck. Where are the places in your body that you feel possibility and where are places where possibility feels like a foreign concept.
Being tender with yourself about it all, as there may be times when we feel no possibility beyond the idea of it – that is okay too, in its own way, if we can be tender with ourselves about it.
Part 2 – Then as much as you can, be with whatever is the place that needs the healing, that needs the growth whether that is internal or external.
Whatever that place might be, it is okay to touch it very, very lightly. Or if you go in deeper and it feels overwhelming to you, to know that it is okay to get support to be with this place or to just step back.
The most important part of this is not to re-traumatize yourself. So no feeling at all, in that way is better than pushing yourself too far.
It is as important, how we do this, as what we do. One aspect of trauma culture is that there is always an idea of where we are supposed to get to. This exercise is not about that. It is all about learning to safely be with places in our consciousness where it has not been safe to go, in a way that allows whatever got stuck there to safely learn to move again.
That could appear as simple as learning to breathe again which for most of us, in this culture is a huge way that we protect ourselves ie by not breathing deeply.
Having said all that, let’s come back to the breath here in this moment if we can
Again, trust what comes up for you here. It could be deeply personal ie a hurt or trauma that you carry. It could be a broader hurt ie the hurt of this planet. It could be some combination. For example it could be a place where I was hurt, that overlaps with a bigger issue of abuse in our culture eg sexual or racial abuse that you have experienced. What is important for this process is that you trust what it is that comes to you.
Then be with whatever that is and see if you can take a breath with that while still holding in consciousness some possibility for healing or growth or love or change.
Part 3 – Then just notice what it is like to be with all of that….
In regards to step three particularly but also for the exercise in general it is important to note that in trauma culture everything comes in binaries, in splits. This process is a practice in evoking consciousness personally and in a broader sense, in a way that itself invokes a letting the cycle of trauma in ourselves and in the world keep moving.
Moving beyond the stuck place that appears to the dissociated mind as a split, a duality, a dyad.
There is no right way to do this beyond doing it in a way that is safe for you. So again, if anything comes up that is overwhelming, it is important to either step back or find support so that you are not re-traumatized.
Otherwise it is a practice in consciousness that is simply about noticing what comes up when we hold these two things side by side:
- On the one hand, acceptance of what has been – particularly in regards to places we have been hurt or traumatized ourselves, or where we have been dismissed or abandoned in some way by the trauma culture. It coudl also be acceptance of our own creativity in the face of all that, whatever sense of our own heart and soul that we still know despite this culture.
- On the other hand to be with possibility also. Possibility for love, for healing, for connection to earth, for creative expression of the deepest parts of who we are. For remembering grace. Possibility too for respect and gratitude for the ways that we have each managed to survive this culture, to get to this place where we are today.
The practice is all about learning to trust a coming out of the dissociative splits and binaries that are a part of trauma culture. Again, because of that, there is no right and wrong. It is much more like a dance than a yes or no, right or wrong question. Can we make space to just see where the flow of movement goes or not as we explore our own consciousness in relationship and not in isolation?
Lastly, the question becomes, as we come out of the deeper part of the reflection – What does this mean in terms of my inner practice and/or any social and environmental justice work that I am doing?
What insights come to me in this process and how do I incorporate, as in embody, those insights into my life. How do I bring this internal dance to bear on how I dance though my daily life?
I would encourage everyone who does this to play with it in relationship to your own inner practice. It could be part of a prayer practice. It could be a reflection/meditation. It could be an exercise that you journal/write through. It could be expressed through art or any form of creative expression that resonates for you. It could be experienced through movement. Along with all the other possibilities out there…
For those of you that are part of the embodied dreamwork practice – it is also a way to be with a dream. It can be an invocation for entering a dream and also a way to specifically explore a dream – to be with these questions. What is the place of possibility for love or grace that is being offered in this dream or in relationship to this dream? What is the place of acceptance, of some old hurt or pattern that is rooted in my experience of trauma culture, that might be coming into consciousness in this dream? What happens if I hold those two places side by side with each other?
I would love to hear of others experience with this or whatever questions you might have. This is all also coming into consciousness for me for the first time, so I have no doubt this will evolve. It will also be in some way a part of the webinar on January 29th, as I want the space we create to be an embodied space, to the extent that is possible in the online world.
Also in case it is helpful, here is an abbreviated version of the whole thing:
- Close your eyes and take a breath. Be conscious in some way of the possibility of healing, of love, of social and environmental justice. See if you can just be in a space of evoking this in a way that is true for you ie the language can be whatever your version of this is.
- Take another breath and without necessarily letting go of that space of possibility, be with some place for you that wants to be healed in some way. That could be personal or something on a broader level or some combination of the two.
- Feel what it is like to notice where these places are alive or not, in some way in your body. Note that absence of conscious feeling is sometimes as important to notice as the places where there is stronger resonance of feeling. Then just be with what it is like to be with both these places in relationship in some way. It could be side by side or overlapping or however you experince this. And then just notice how that is…
A reminder as always to do this in a way that feels safe to you. Get support where needed particularly in relationship to overwhelming feelings if they arise and know it is always okay to back up.
Lastly, be with all of this in a way that works for you. Feel into the question of how you bring this into relationship to your inner practice and/or your social and environmental justice activism.
Feel free to post thoughts, comments and/or questions in the associated Private Facebook Group here: “Coming Into Consciousness“
With love and respect,
Bill Mira St.Cyr
Monday January 22nd, 2018
From the occupied land of the Abenaki Nation, now called Vermont
NEW CLASS: From Trauma Culture to Embodied Consciousness
Bringing Together Inner Practice and Social Change
Please join me for this 3 month exploration of learning to hold space within ourselves and for each other. We will learn about and practice what it means to hold space, in the context of an understanding of trauma culture and an embodied return to an experience of love and grace. Both within our inner practice and in our engagement to the broader world of community and social justice…
Pricing is variable dependent on ability to pay