Creating a calm, safe space : some reflections on trauma and the pain body

When we have suffered a lot of trauma, our emotional and physical systems have literally been overloaded with input.  It is as though the inner circuit board of our being is endlessly lit up with warning lights flashing, sounds blaring, neurons endlessly firing backwards and forwards in an awful cacophony of inner white noise, electric pain and fury which revolves endlessly around and never seems to stop.

We need to find our own individual circuit breakers to interrupt the endless feedback loop cycle from endlessly refiring within us.  To me this means developing an awareness of what has caused us pain and trauma in the past, amped up our nervous system or triggered us.  It means creating and finding peaceful places within and without which are nourishing for us on every level, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, places of soothing, calm, expansion and warmth within which our hurting, contracted places can release and let go of what limits, restricts and confines in an unhealthy way or endlessly re-traumatises us.

I have been thinking lately a great deal about the pain body, a concept that Eckart Tolle has written and spoken about. All of us carry some degree of pain within us, some people such as myself carry a huge pain body around.  The pain body consists of all the pain from trauma, injuries, hurts and/or losses we have suffered in this life that may affect us unconsciously.  According to Tolle developing awareness of or consciousness into our own pain body as well as the pain body of others, developing some intelligence into the ways in which we react out of the pain body and can retrigger our own and other’s pain is very important to learning to becoming more skilful and happy in our lives.

I started to write a blog this morning about compassionate communication.  It was prompted by a book I started to re-read last night on love. Suffice to say for this blog we are only able to be compassionate towards ourselves and others after we have developed an awareness and acceptance of the fact that some pain is part of life.  We carry pain, others carry pain and the best answer and healing remedy to deal with the pain body in ourselves and others is an attitude of what Pema Chodron calls unconditional friendliness, an open, loose, expansive, state of awareness, acceptance and presence, a radiant field of loving tolerant energy within which pain can be embraced, soothed and de-potentised (Word press isn’t recognising that word but I think its a good one for stepping down the potent charge of a pain body that is firing off and getting magnified and magnetised by a triggering event or state we are encountering within ourselves or in our relationships).

Trauma and pain’s most noticeable impact upon many of us is a state of contraction, a state of pulling in or away as a result of hurt.  We either react, run, hide, avoid or attack, play dead, freeze or spin out.  And it is perfectly natural that we react in this way, from the more primal centres of our brain.   However over time and when these kind of reactions lead our pain to repeat or magnify or get us caught up in a fruitless destructive cycle we may feel the urge to reach for a better way of responding.   Is there a chance we could lean in, take a deep breathe and hold ourselves still in the midst of trauma allowing its vibration to release and have its way its way with us?

Over the past week or so this is the kind of practice I have been attempting to engage in.  I find the Universe often has a tendency to present us with challenges and lessons when we put our hands up in this way.  Today I lost my car keys in the shopping centre where I had gone for a cup of coffee.  I am sure they were in my bag when I went to the discount pharmacy to buy some things, not so sure if they were still there when I visited the library, but by the time I was heading towards the carpark I reached my hands inside my bag to find it void of any keys at all.  I started to feel sick inside as I do in this kind of situation.   (Its a while since this sort of thing has happened to me as I have been much more mindful of my keys after having lost them on at least 6 occasions over the past year or so.)  My first impulse was to freak out and panic after I had checked the concierge desk and customer service in the department store I was in at the time.  It was not possible to check the library as the library closed at 4 pm.

I stopped myself mid panic and said “the keys are lost for now, you need to stay calm and think of how to solve the situation.”  My phone was in another bag in my car in the car park.  I knew I had a spare key at home, taxis stood nearby in the taxi rank so I got into one and told the driver what had happened.   He drove me home and waited while I collected the spare key then returned me to the shopping centre from where I drove home.

I still noticed that I was running a ‘disaster’ script in my head, self judgement over how careless I was to have lost the keys in the first place, a sick feeling thinking I had no idea where they were and may never find them back.  But then calmer voices came into play.  How much of a disaster is it really if I loose those keys?  I don’t have any control over the situation now and making it worse by awfulising things will just end up adding stress that I don’t need. The keys may turn up later, but for now isn’t it just best to let it go, kiddo.   Problem solved.  I did not have to add to the difficulty by amping up things and I just had a chat to a friend about it and we had a huge laugh.

A few days later I went to the library and was told my keys had been found on the floor near the self issue station.  My calmness payed of.  Everything was really okay.  By not freaking out I had stopped more pain for myself.  It took a lot of work and conscious intent and taught me some really practical things about dealing with the pain body.

 

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Being present with the pain body

The following article can be found at this link.  I found it extremely helpful.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eckhart-tolle/living-in-presence-with-y_b_753114.html

There is such a thing as old emotional pain living inside you. It is an accumulation of painful life experience that was not fully faced and accepted in the moment it arose. It leaves behind an energy form of emotional pain. It comes together with other energy forms from other instances, and so after some years you have a “painbody,” an energy entity consisting of old emotion.

It lives in human beings, and it is the emotional aspect of egoic consciousness. When the ego is amplified by the emotion of the painbody, the ego has enormous strength still — particularly at those times. It requires very great presence so that you can be there as the space also for your painbody, when it arises.

That is everybody’s job here — to be there, to recognize the painbody when it shifts from dormant to active, when something triggers a very strong emotional reaction. At that moment, when it does take over your mind, the internal dialogue, which is dysfunctional at the best of times, now becomes the voice of the painbody talking to you internally. Everything it says is deeply colored by the old, painful emotion of the painbody. Every interpretation, everything it says, every judgment about your life, about other people, about a situation you are in, will be totally distorted by the old emotional pain.

If you are not there as the space for it, you are identified with the painbody and you believe every negative thought that it is telling you. If you are alone, the painbody will feed on every negative thought that arises, and get more energy. That’s why it’s become active — after it does that for a while, you can’t stop thinking, at night, or whenever it is. The painbody is feeding, and after a few hours, it’s had enough. You feel a little depleted. And then it happens again a few weeks later, or few days later.

The painbody would feel even better if it could feed on somebody else’s reaction. Your partner would be a favorite person. And it will, if there is somebody around, or family situations. Our pain bodies love families. And it will just provoke this person, your partner or whoever it is. The painbody knows exactly what the thing is that will trigger a negative response. Then it says the thing that is going to really hurt you. And of course, if you are not absolutely present in that moment, then immediately you will react. And the painbody loves it! Give me more drama, please!

Both painbodies are now awake, and feeding on each other. Then, a few hours later, or the next day, the painbodies no longer need it. They are full, they have replenished themselves. And you can look at each other and say, “What was that all about?” In some cases, you may not even remember how it all started. This huge drama started somewhere, and then one thing led to another. Wasn’t it the same two weeks ago?

Can we be present and see if next time we can catch it at its early stage, so that we don’t get drawn in totally?

Can we both endeavour to be present for each other, and for ourselves?

See if we can see the first signs of the pain body — either in ourselves, or in the other. Immediately realize it, be the space for it, and if possible — even voice it to your partner and say “My pain body got triggered when you said that.”

Often, little situations trigger enormous reactions. Be there, present for it. Your partner will find it easier to see it in you, and you will find it easier to see it in them. Whether or not you can tell your partner that his or her pain body has become activated depends on the degree to which your partner has already been taken over by it. If you catch it at a very early stage, then some remnant of Consciousness will still be there in your partner and that remnant will be hearing you when you say, “Could that be your pain body?” It has to be phrased very carefully. You may want to add, “Do you remember our agreement?”

If there is still a remnant of Consciousness then that will be listening to you, and your partner will be able to be there as the space for his or her pain body. If there is no remnant of Consciousness in your partner, you will be talking to the pain body, and the pain body does not like to hear about the pain body. Of course, it will deny any such thing. “My pain body? Look at yours!”

The Light within the Dark

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Deep down in here it is dark

But somewhere the light is shining

Shadows are being thrown over things

By a past that was full

Of so many painful experiences

Hurts, betrayals, losses and endings

Trauma, smashing ups, crushing pain

The consequences of difficult decisions

And the deep tearing of much life taken

I carry the memory of all this

And the cellular imprints

Deep within

And wake each morning

Struggling to breathe

Holding fast on the knife edge of pain

Paying attention to

And loosening the contraction

Of this prolonged dark night

And re-birth

And yet there is light

In the sweet kindness that is shown

In the sunny greeting of my little dog

Doing his joyous “where’s breakfast?” dance

In the sparkle of sun on water

In the compassion and empathy you show

In the recognition that pain is pain

Deep, dark and difficult at times

But with its own gifts too

Now is growing the understanding

That this pain can be held

In the sweet embrace of love

When you look on me tenderly

And with compassion

And when I do the same for me

And for others too

Then a powerful light grows

Deep within the darkness

And I realise the pain of holding on

Is recognised in the light of understanding

And released in the light of that recognition

I open my clenched fists

And take deep breaths

And surrender to the love

That wants to enter

That love does not erase the memory of pain

But holds it tenderly

And is the soothing balm

That will work its powerful alchemy

Helping the sting to fade

With time

Through this opening

I find the courage to move out

Into the light

Where love can be found

Deep within the hearts

Of those who have suffered

And let love win

And made their peace with nature

And life

In all its terrible beauty majesty and mystery

Reflections on reactivity following a hurt

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I wrote this blog a few weeks ago.  Injury has made me much more present to the here and now.  I am undergoing physio to work with the injury and maximise my healing.  And this blog has been slumbering in draft.  Today I release it like a butterfly.

I awoke after a long and fairly peaceful sleep, this morning.  It was filed with powerful dreams and images and my body was twisted around due to the ankle injury I sustained last week, but the twisting and turning that goes on when I try to push myself out of pain stopped, I rested quietly with the breath.  I am conscious that the building pressure of the Mars Pluto conjunction was beginning to loosen.

I had a challenging day yesterday.  I reached out the day before to someone, then had second thoughts then they rejected me or my need because they wanted to handle the situation in a different way. I wasn’t gracious about it.  In fact I was really, really angry and I let them know.  (Always a scary thing for me.)

I did a double take when I realised the Moon was opposite not only Pluto but Mars too.  Maybe this was a time to get powerful insights into my own Moon Mars Saturn conjunction that has a lot of intensity around it, due to the connections with Chiron and Pluto too.

Relationships have always contained a lot of pain and difficulty for me.  As a growing person I did not learn to negotiate feelings in relationship.  I did not see healthy confrontation and conflict modelled in relationships.  I was not mirrorered, due to the way my parents treated me when I was angry and due to the way I saw conflict modelled (or not modelled) in the home.  Outbursts from my Mum never led to any kind of resolution.  There was this pool of seething frustration in the atmosphere I did my best to negotiate warily around, by trying to do the right thing so as not to get in the way of a bullet.  I also probably didn’t learn very effective ways of understanding and controlling my impulses.  After many years of mixed up development I landed in recovery, a binge drinking alcoholic.

Over the years of my recovery I have began to realise that I learned that anger was a powerful and dangerous emotion that was best repressed or kept under wraps.  That method did not work, since anger would erupt.  Anger is intimately related to our self assertive drive to express ourselves effectively in the world.  If our method of self expression becomes blocked in some way we end up with a backlog of repressed energy and the anger banks up.  It took me many years to understand that anger could come out when other emotions, feelings, wants, needs and perceptions were not really understood and being expressed by me. Anger could be the eruptive force that hid a softer side, that softer side was being protected by the full force of anger thrown out, that then had the effect of alienating others, who did not really know how to cope.

It was not possible for me to say.  “Listen I am feeling really scared at the moment and I really need some comfort and reassurance.”  Or “I’ feeling really confused, I don’t really understand how to do that/what you are saying/how you are  feeling/why you are treating me like this/what this all means.”  I would either retreat and stuff it, because that is what I watched my Dad do in response to my Mum, or when that method didn’t work explode in a rage, just as I saw my Mother do.  I grew into an adult, but inside was a child that didn’t have a lot of skills to negotiate the world.

I have talked with another friend around my own age in recovery and we have discussed how its a bit of a generational thing for us born in the 60s, we grew up pretty mixed up around feelings, raised by parents and institutions short on emotional intelligence and surrounded by peers undergoing their own struggles and sometimes acting them out on us.

It is apt that Neptune is currently stationing on my Chiron in the seventh house, as old pain around relationships has been triggered a lot over the past few weeks and as I come to further realisations around Mars issues, since Mars and Chiron aspect each other in my chart.  Good things are coming out of these transits, but injury has accompanied it.   A recent function brought me and my nephew closer together.  We both struggle with the Mars Saturn conjunction and we both struggle with feelings of rage and powerlessness which are tied up with deep feelings of grief.  It felt good to be able to share about it.  A few days later I wrote a blog on Not Magnifying a Hurt.

While writing this I am thinking of what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body.  According to Eckhart some people have a much stronger pain body, it is more easily triggered.  I would equate this with a person who, having had painful experiences in the past can easily find this old pain triggered by a seemingly (to others) un noxious event (someone with a strong Pluto energy.)  I certainly relate to this.

Last year a friend confronted me about my tendency to explode.  Often this kind of explosion is associated with some lack of compassion and sensitivity (not necessarily to me only) but to those who are more vulnerable.  The fighting warrior comes out in me and flies into full protection or defensive mode.   People around start to feel really uncomfortable.  Grief may then come following the said explosion which is cause for more concern from others, frightened, horrified or shocked looks.  In exploring this issue with someone similar to me, he gets my response totally.  Doesn’t really see the need for judgement at all.  Never the less I can come away from such interactions feeling judgement and then feeling a bit peeved at the lack of understanding.  But I am beginning to see this as a bit self centred too, many people struggle with expressing their own anger so mine challenges them.  We are all only human.

Over the years I’ve explored the idea I might be a person with Borderline Personality.  I fit many of the criteria when my addiction was in full flight.  Recovery has helped me to address some of those characteristics.   But on some level I am not sure if that diagnosis totally sticks.  I have also explored the concept of being both Highly Sensitive and Highly empathic.

In the end the bottom line exists in knowing myself.  In having some kind of idea of the things the irk me and get me fired up, of the things that bug me and trigger me and accepting that.  Of looking at my reactions, questioning myself, sharing with others, reading about anger, finding out about projection and learning to stay in touch with my insides, finding avenues to express my feelings (especially through journaling and blogging).  And reaching out to others who are more likely to be empathetic than judgemental.

For many years I had the idea there was something wrong with me for feeling and reacting the way that I did, and I most certainly did need to learn to grow in understanding of myself.  The truth is my feelings and reactions show me more about my at times unconscious history and sensitivities rather than being a sign of something wrong with me.

I  think if I could have achieved this level of insight and self acceptance sooner, I would have had an easier time of it.  The truth is too, that sometimes it would be better to let go of the irritant that is causing my pain body to ark up or to find ways to self sooth in the face of what grates and grazes on my soul.  Many of my feelings are only magnified by further negative thoughts which act as salt put into a wound that is already smarting.  Instead I need to apply the healing balm of something that soothes and calms the irritated pain body, when faced with tasks that seem massive and overwhelming I can make them more digestable if I bite a little off and chew them piece by piece.

All these tools help to become less reactive, or at best able to deal with and recognise strong reactions when they occur.  This process for me has taken a lot of years.  Looking back now I can see that I had a backlog of desire and need that wasn’t really fulfilled in childhood.  My parents did the best they could.  For me it wasn’t enough and traumas occurring in my late teens and early twenties made growing up and negotiating the challenges of this passage all the more difficult.  Things that happened during this time, and most especially the accident that nearly ended my life at 17 and saw me confined in hospital for three months,  left both wounds and a developmental arrest of sorts that have at times made change challenging.

Lately I am mindful of the Saturn Mars Moon theme that in some way brings me up short, when approaching the brink of change.  Just before I am about to move through to the next  stage some incident happens which brings me back, to the injury at 17, to the arrest, to the circumscribed circumference of a circle that is like a ring pass not fate has ordained for me.  Inwardly I travel far and wide, while being holed up with injury and perhaps the experience which has made it necessary for me to reach out more for help, has been good for me.  My Saturn Moon often tries to tough it out and go it alone.  I am aware that emotionally I need to sustain myself, but connections, too are so very important when we are feeling vulnerable.  Friendships from an unlikely place have been given to me during this past ordeal with my ankle that show me I am not totally alone.  And yet I get frightened by Saturn at times, thinking that planet has some power not only over me but over the entire collective of my family.  I watched my sister struggle with incapacitation following a cerebral bleed and become bed ridden in the last few years of her life.   She also had the Mars Saturn aspect.

I think of the lessons that Saturn may be here to teach me.  To be aware of my tendency to over reach (which is a family trait), to stay grounded and in touch with reality.  To accept the differences between myself and others with good grace.   To put protective and effeive boundaries around my feelings, while respecting the limits of others and to realise that although I am a spirit, matter is the principle through with I must manifest and which I cannot escape as long as my soul is incarnated in this physical body.

And as I look at my swollen ankle and face the fact that the damage sustained to it may not be reparable, I think of Chiron, the wounded healershot in the foot by an arrow that contained poison from the Hydra’s den that Heracles had on its tip from his encounter with the Hydra, that many headed Scorpionic (Plutonian) beast.  The injury I sustained happened after some poisonous family secrets were shared with me following my mother’s 90th in early November.  The profound power of both astrology and mythology to define soulful archetypal truths is strongly with me.  Our family has had a Hydra its heart we have all been affected by the multi generational demon of alcoholism.  Battling that has proved useless, understanding it has been more important and in the end that understanding has probably come from the battles that failed or wounded us. The scars remain, they need tending and healing.

In mythology it is only when Heracles gets down on his knees and raised the Hydra to the light does the awesome beast reveal its jewel.  So in the end some kind of fail, or fall or injury makes possible surrender of a kind, and makes time for the necessary healing.

As the words flow out from me in this blog which, as usual is revealing another face I get out of the way and let it flow, I get closer to some answers or images which rise up and reveal their truths.  And I have felt a particular cleansing and healing over the past couple of days.

I read a beautiful piece of writing this morning by the poet Mark Nepo.  In it he spoke about how life is an ongoing migration of a sort that carries us across shifting oceans to ever new experiences and realisations.  He uses the powerful metaphor of the ocean swell being akin to the process we undergo in living and journeying each day.  At times we are caught up in the belly of a wave, at other times we are cresting.  While in the belly we cant see much and things can get scary, but then another day reveals to us insights we did not have before and so we are riding, for a time, on the wave’s crest.  In closing I will leave you with the following quote which really resonated with me deeply.

The life of the soul on Earth has us bobbing on a raft of flesh, in and out of the view of eternity, and the work of the inner pilgrim is to keep eternity in our heart and mind’s eye when dropped in the belly of our days.

April 30, Our Constant Arrival, The Book of Awakening

Further travels with pain and trauma : bringing light into the dark

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I just spent some hours writing the following blog.  As I read it back it struck me I am just really struggling with loss and feelings.  The inner censor is making some comments. But after a few corrections to typos I putting it out there anyway.  🙂

Last week was really painful and tough. I wish I knew the reason why, then I could make the change to make it better and to feel more of the strength and positivity in the good feelings which are there on many days.  But sometimes, there is a tide that is pulling me back into the darkness and pain especially surrounding the burden of my family history.  With one sister recently passed away and the other struggling with depression, I too, struggle in maintaining a sense of separation from other people’s pain and feelings.  Most  especially I struggle to maintain a sense of happiness and hope for a better future in the face of that darkness.  And I do know that on any day there are a number of choices I can make in placing my energy and time in nurturing, rather than depleting directions.

I have been very aware of being there to support my mother in the face of the difficulties surrounding both siblings.  In the wake of my sister’s death there are the tasks that follow the ending of a life, administrative things to do with death certificates that need to be witnessed  and the issue of the collection and handling of my sister’s ashes.   In this task there is only my mother and me present   None of my sister’s children live close.  Separated from her by the circumstance of her own trauma and their father’s struggle to survive and cope all fours sons live quiet far away.  It was great to have them with us in the time leading up to and just following her death, but now with these other issues to deal with,  it is  quiet a lonely task.  I am grateful in one way to be able to front up ad be there but at other times I am conscious of a deep emptiness that stretches back in our family, so much separation and emotional absence, over many generations which I am trying in some small way to redress.

At times the entire task seems too big and I feel like I am drowning or, at least, struggling to live and breathe and maintain a sense of self and boundaries within it..  I am trying to remember to breathe, move, not to clamp down, not to struggle so much and yet there is so much banked up feeling.

My body suffers a lot on some days.   Its a struggle to get moving and I have body spasms and twists, especially at night.  There is a suck in, push and pull out  out dynamic that happens.  Over the past three years there have been at least seven different hospitalisations of three family members and I have been the one in the middle going backwards and forwards, trying to be supporting, living on my nerves, trying at the same time to support my own life and care of my home and dog, is it any wonder, at the moment that I am feeling so exhausted and longing for some one to care for me.  Oh the joy of Saturn transits!!!   Transiting Saturn is moving back towards natal Neptune and will be squaring Sun, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter and the South and North Nodes over the next four months.

I continue to put my hand up for tasks that are often not my responsibility due to the fact others cant, or wont front up.   It my first instinctive response, one that comes naturally to me.  Only after I have volunteered do I realise that I have overcommitted myself and energy not allowing enough time for my own tasks that need attention and yet, if I don’t give love in this situation the emptiness will go on with no light in the darkness at all.

Today I am still in my pyjamas at 2 pm.  We are moving into winter and had a lovely fall of rain last night and throughout the morning it could have been a peaceful morning but  marring the day I had a major cuffufle with my mother this morning.     I wasn’t really aware that the lingering resentment around her own emotional absence over earlier years which lies dormant (and I thought I had dealt with) was about to rear its ugly head  today.  We ended up having one of our painful tussles and I said somethings which hurt her and were probably best left unsaid.  The conversation left us both in tears and with my insides feeling like they had been scoured out with a huge wad of steel wool.

“Maybe its best if we don’t have as much to do with each other for a while” she said. This is her default setting for not dealing with conflict and issues which cut a bit too close to the bone.   I know she is struggling with a lot of painful feelings herself and most of the time I try to go gently on her. But  today I guess I was just feeling angry, sore and raw and a trifle put upon having spent the day yesterday nurturing my sister, driving her back and forward from hospital on a weekend where she is totally institutionalised and sees no one much.  My mother’s comment really hurt.  In the process of grieving my sister’s loss I have very few places to go to share the sadness, as usual it was all about my Mum’s wounded ego.    Earlier she had tried pulling out the guilt card.  “I don’t have much longer left on this earth”.  I called her on it.  This is another one of her tactics for trying to  making me feel bad for addressing painful feelings which she would really rather deny.  “For God’s sake isn’t it time you put it to rest?”.  Most of the time I do and I wish I remembered this one fact :  its not possible to deal with these feelings with my Mum and deep down I am angry at having tried to deal with a challenging situation which has endured over so many bloody years.

We two and do at times  get into some terrible tangles.  They say oil and water don’t mix but sometimes air and water have a lot of trouble too.  Sometimes it really sucks having a parent whose Sun Mercury Saturn hits all of your personal planets, especially the Moon and Venus,  planets of closeness and relationship.  These interconnections can be cutting at times and its not always easy to get a deeper connection and understanding.   And maybe its not even her job  Maybe that responsibility is mine now.  It  was her responsibility at one point and she failed pretty miserably at it and that has left a painful legacy for all three of her daughters, something I am not even going to try and point out.  She couldn’t give what she never got from her own mother in the first place and she has tried, over the past years to make some kind of amends.  After our terminated call I was left questioning myself a lot.  Did I place too much of a burden of expectation upon a parent who is now struggling herself?   Not an easy feeling.

I was lucky enough following my upsetting phone call with my mum to call a very kind and gentle friend. ! Maybe these feelings you are having towards your Mum you can put in a letter”, she said.  “And if you would like to read it to me I would be happy to listen”. This friend has the same name as my sister Judy.  I could always go to Jude with Mum issues and she would understand.  Now I no longer have that older sister to go to who understands but maybe my Higher Power did provide someone else.  I was very grateful for her attempt try to understand where I was coming from and show empathy.

I must say its a huge relief just to be on my own today.  To be in the quiet and peace of home without any obligations or responsibilities pulling on me.  Jasper is sleeping quietly and doesn’t seem to perturbed by having missed his usual morning play in the park.  In a moment I think I will light the fire and read a book.

I’m praying this week will be a little easier than last.  I wonder if its the pain body that has been giving me trouble last week. This is a term Eckhardt Tolle uses to describe the entity that can live inside of us and rear up from time to time.  My own pain body is pretty large.  I have had three major physical traumas, the last two following the painful separation that attended the ending of my marriage.  Its taken me some time to be able to feel deeply into the pain body and the traumatic footprint left by physical and emotional trauma that is more active at night….To find ways to be with it while breathing in the pain instead of reacting to it.  Its taken some years but bearing with this process I have found is beginning to bear fruit.  When I can be with the pain without magnifying the pain the pain does lessen and dissolve and usually if I just concentrate on the breath or a lovely song in my head, I manage to fall asleep.

No one will ever know how hard some day are for me with my Post Traumatic Stress.  Its not something you can see and its not always there.  At times pain that is submerged, emerges as tides of consciousness recede as I attempt to let go and slip away into sleep.  On some days my body contorts a lot in a way that I have seen in images of shell shock victims following war.  I read somewhere in book on Buddhism that traumas cause a twisted “tsa” or energy.  At times I feel that twisting is trying to find a way to unravel.  It is not ever present, it comes and goes.

I’m making an effort to try and find words for my experience because at times its lonely.  In the end its my responsibility to deal with it.  There really isn’t anyone else.  I have tried a lot of therapy and was once told by the astrologer Melanie Reinhardt that my kind of trauma is often not helped my most therapists.  Instead I try to find ways of dealing with it alone having gone through repeated let downs and frustrations with therapists.   Maybe this is my Saturn Moon Mars legacy.   In the end it is what I must carry because I can’t check out with any kind of pain relief due to my sobriety.  In any case this kind of legacy is beyond pain relief of the pharmaceutical kind.

Instead I look to life  I look to the breathe.  I cuddle little Jasper and feel the healing of his soft tummy lying close to my sore tummy  And I continue to commit to seeking the light and to remembering that although the darkness does exist there are still tools available to build a fire, to bring light, warmth, energy and healing to the dark places.

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Better to Light a Candle, than to Curse the Darkness