Going deep can feel a lot like being dumped in the middle of the ocean with a millstone tied around our neck. We sink straight to the bottom buried under the weight of our pain or past trauma peering up at the light of day, wondering how or if it’s possible to resurface.
Our descent to exploring trauma is meant to be gentle. As with scuba-diving we need to assess our readiness for submergence. There is preparation and training involved.
Have you developed the necessary skills to maintain your source of oxygen and safety?
This can look like:
~ Breathing mindfully by allowing your body to release the tension in your muscles with each inhale and exhale.
~ Recognizing when your body is tense and when it's relaxed.
~ Practicing engaging your senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing, smelling when your body is enjoying something like food or a nice shower.
~ Enjoying visualization of a place, time in your life or a nurturing person that feels serene to you.
~ Identifying people in your life who are supportive of your personal growth and practiced at holding space as well as setting limits.
All of these things are useful skills that prepare you to go beneath the surface. Even then, we decide how deep we want to go and at what pace. Do we want to just take a peek beneath the surface and come back up?
In learning to scuba-dive you start where your feet can still touch the ground. Once you’ve mastered the skills, you’re ready to tread out into a little bit deeper water. Even then, you can decide just how much you’d like to explore.
You don’t have to see all of the things in one trip. Exploring trauma is more of a journey than a final destination. Once you do begin to explore and process the trauma it becomes less scary just as the unknowns beneath the sea become more familiar.
Trauma is essentially an experience that has not been processed. An experience that your body is still holding onto because your body doesn’t realize it’s over. Once its gently and mindfully processed, your body will release and it will be more like recalling a story, rather than feeling the experience.