I worked with a young man one time, and it was tough. I remember hearing him cry out in despair, "I just want to kill myself!"
When you hear those words, spoken in pain by someone you care for, how do you feel inside? Does your stomach clench and spasm? Or does a semi-paralysis claim your whole body and your breathing nearly stop? How do you hold space with love and support for someone when they are experiencing a primal response from the ever-present-past of trauma?
We may not be aware of a past trauma holding us back in the moment when we are triggered, yet in attempting to protect us, our hypothalamus and triple warmer can lock us into outdated defensive strategies that rigidify our habit field.
It is not possible for a person to think clearly when the blood has left the forebrain and moved into the limbs for fight or flight. Even though many people know the kinds of changes they want to make, they find themselves unable to make change happen.
Trapped in habits from the past, they may put tremendous effort into willing themselves to change patterns that are emotionally locked into their body. This can increase their experiences of inner discouragement, cynicism, and self-loathing.
Self-talk is not enough to change a primal response; however, there are energy techniques that can open your habit field for reprogramming. When your energies are freed for healing and creativity, your mind will follow.
Three approaches for reprogramming the habit field are:
(1) Defusing traumatic residue that is already in your habit field;
(2) Programming higher frequencies into your habit field; and
(3) Evoking your habit field to embrace a new physiological or psychological pattern.
Each time that you are able to keep the blood from leaving your brain as you process stress and/or trauma, you are showing your brain a new strategy, and your habit pattern begins to transform. As your body learns to tolerate increasing amounts of stress before invoking the fight-or-flight response, your sense of health and well-being will also increase.
After I worked with a child to reprogram his stress response, I asked, "What is the most important thing you can remember to tell yourself when you notice stress coming up?"
"I love myself," he responded with warmth, "and I am going to take good care of myself and my energy forever."
When we make time in our lives to drop out of our busy world and regularly receive support to focus our compassionate awareness on our body (rather than distancing ourselves and treating our body as our enemy) we can learn to begin to cherish our body.
When we tune in to our body's subtle cues with curiosity and care, we can understand the energies of our body and attend to its needs. And as we learn how to turn on our body's energies, we can begin to unravel deeply embedded patterns of stress and trauma, forming resilient patterns of well-being.